By JAMES ALLAN
EVANSTON, Ill. — Life on the road in the Big Ten isn’t easy.
Three days after knocking off No. 17/19 Purdue in Iowa City, the University of Iowa men’s basketball team was dealt a humbling 89-54 road loss at Northwestern on Sunday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
“The biggest issue was everything,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery, whose Hawkeyes fell to 11-8 overall and 3-3 in conference play.
The Wildcats shot 59.7 percent from the field, made 11 3-pointers, had a 42-18 advantage in points in the paint, and an 18-9 edge in fast-break points. Northwestern out-rebounded Iowa, 39-24.
The Hawkeyes didn’t have an answer for the Wildcats’ backcourt duo of Scottie Lindsey and Bryant McIntosh. Lindsey finished with a game-high 22 points and eight rebounds, while McIntosh did a little bit of everything. He made 9-of-11 field goals to finish with 20 points and dished out 10 assists.
Northwestern scored the first eight points and led 19-9 seven minutes in. Iowa made a run, closing the gap to 25-22 at the 8:35 mark on a Jordan Bohannon 3-pointer, Peter Jok jumper, and a Christian Williams steal and layup.
But the Wildcats responded with a 14-1 run to open up a 39-23 lead; Northwestern led 44-32 at the half after shooting 54.3 percent from the field.
Northwestern scored eight of the first 10 points of the second half to push its lead to 52-34 before Iowa got a jolt from its bench. With an all-reserve lineup of Williams, Brady Ellingson, Ahmad Wagner, Nicholas Baer, and Ryan Kriener, the Hawkeyes closed the gap to 56-47 with 13:09 remaining.
Kreiner was one of Iowa’s bright spots for Iowa, scoring a career-high 14 points, making 6-of-7 field goals in 22 minutes. Freshman Tyler Cook tied for the team lead with 14 points and had five rebounds. He made 8-of-9 free throws.
“I’ve been saying for a while that he’s too good not to be playing,” McCaffery said of Kriener. “He’s playing behind Dom (Uhl), Ahmad, Cordell (Pemsl), and Tyler… he’s going to play now.”
A little more than four minutes after the deficit was nine, Iowa’s trailed 70-50 and it didn’t get any closer from there. The Hawkeyes scored seven points over the final 13 minutes, as Northwestern coasted to its 15th victory and improved to 4-2 in league play.
Iowa shot just 29.6 percent in the second half and 35.3 percent for the game. The Hawkeyes went 4-of-17 from 3-pointer range and committed 14 turnovers.
Jok — Iowa’s and the Big Ten’s leading scorer — was held to a season-low four points on 2-of-9 shooting. He played just 21 minutes.
“They were up tight on him and were paying attention to him,” said McCaffery. “In the second half we took him out because his back was bothering him and then it got to a point where I wasn’t going to put him back in.”
Iowa returns to action Thursday, hosting Maryland at 6 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.