Iowa Victory Ends Road Woes

It took a while, but Iowa finally snapped a 12 game road losing streak within conference play as they defeated Northwestern 68-63 Wednesday night in Evanston, IL. This was the Hawkeyes first road victory since defeating Minnesota back on January 24th of the 2001-02 season.

6-7 freshman combo forward Greg Brunner got things rolling for Iowa with four quick points to help the Hawkeyes jump out to an early 6-4 lead with 17:21 remaining in the first half.

Northwestern (8-3, 0-1) missed their first three attempts from beyond the three point line, but began to warm up as they drained their next three straight, with the third coming from Iowa native 6-11 senior center Aaron Jennings, as he drilled a 20 footer from the top of the key to give the Wildcats a 12-8 lead.

However on the Hawkeyes' next possession, 6-3 freshman point guard Jeff Horner brought Iowa within one point at 12-11 with a three pointer of his own with 12:55 remaining.

Neither team was able to gain control of the first half until Horner began to take the over the game with his passing late in the half. With Iowa leading 31-30, Horner found 6-11 junior center Jared Reiner down low with a bounce pass. Reiner made a move to the middle of the lane and scored while being fouled. After completing the three point play, Iowa took a 34-30 lead with 3:11 remaining in the first twenty minutes of play.

On Iowa's very next trip down the court, Horner found 5-11 junior Brody Boyd spotting up behind the three point line on the left wing, and Boyd did what he does best, drilling the three pointer to give Iowa a seven point lead at 37-30.

With 1:43 remaining in the half, Horner once again showed his excellent passing skills, as he found Reiner on the block with a no-look pass. Reiner missed the shot, however he collected the offensive rebound, one of his career high 16 on the night, and was fouled. Reiner made one out of two free throws to give Iowa its largest lead in the first half at 38-30.

Northwestern was not about to go into the locker room without a fight though, as they rambled off six straight points in the final minute and a half, to close within two at intermission at 38-36.

6-7 junior forward Glen Worley led Iowa with 10 points in the first half. Boyd chipped in eight solid points off the bench, and Horner dropped in two long range three pointers for six points, while dishing out five assists.

The Wildcats would score first in the second half on a three point play by 6-2 junior guard Jitim Young to complete a 9-0 run, which stretched over both halves, and put the Wildcats up 39-38.

However on the Hawkeyes first offensive possession of the second half, Worley would grab one of his six offensive rebounds, and get fouled on the put back attempt. Worley stepped to the free throw line and made both free throws putting the Hawkeyes back on top 40-39.

Worley's two free throws would spark an 8-3 Iowa run over the first four and a half minutes of the second half, as Iowa led 46-39 with 15:36 remaining in the game.

As he did in the first half, Horner once again showed his tremendous passing skills, as he hit Brunner with an alley-oop pass, in which Brunner slammed home and was fouled on the play. After making the free throw, Iowa's lead would increase to 10 at 51-41 with 13:44 remaining in the game.

After a Horner steal on Northwestern's next possession, Brunner would return the favor to Horner, as he connected with the point guard streaking down the lane with a no-look pass giving Iowa a 53-41 lead.

Iowa used a 23-9 run in the first ten and a half minutes of the second half, and would take their largest lead at 61-45 on a spin move by 6-9 junior center Sean Sonderleiter with 9:36 remaining.

Just as they had done late in the first half, Northwestern began to scrap and claw their way back into the game. The Wildcats would use a 13-2 run to draw within five of the Hawkeyes at 63-58 on a Jennings put back with 4:14 remaining in the game.

The final two minutes of the game were rather interesting, as Iowa would have plenty of chances to put the game away, and Northwestern would have just as many chances to take the lead.

With just 1:16 remaining, 6-5 senior guard Winston Blake would score on a lay up drawing the Wildcats within two points at 65-63.

After a Worley turnover, the Wildcats went for the lead but were unsuccessful, as Blake missed long three point shot. Brunner grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled, and made one out of two free throws with just :34.9 seconds left in the game to put the Hawkeyes up 66-63.

Northwestern would miss two more three point attempts, while Iowa struggled from the free throw line in the final minute of the game going just 1-6, before Boyd made two free throws with :02.6 remaining capping off the 68-63 Hawkeye win.

Worley led four Hawkeyes in double figures with 16 points. Boyd added 12 points off the bench, while 6-1 senior guard Chauncey Leslie finished reached double figures in scoring for the eleventh time in twelve games with 10 points. Horner also finished with 10 points, and set a career high with his eight assists.

Iowa improved their record to 9-3 overall and 1-0 in conference with the win. This marked the seventh straight win for the Hawkeyes to start the Big Ten season dating back to 1996-97 season.

The Hawkeyes will return home for their next two games as they host two ranked Big Ten opponents in #25 Michigan State on Saturday afternoon, and #10 Illinois next Wednesday night.

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