Hot Start Keys Easy Wildcat Win

Six days ago, Northwestern had one of their worst performances, as Illinois scorched the nets with countless buckets. This time, the luck was on Northwestern's side. The Wildcats hit seven-consecutive three-pointers, and didn't look back, winning 90-71 over the Iowa Hawkeyes.

"It was just one of those nights where we were knocking everything down," said NU head coach Bill Carmody. "A week ago in Champaign, they couldn't miss. Tonight was our night."

Carmody must have forgotten Sunday's game, where the luck was, again, on their side. Northwestern posted 93 points against Indiana. This marks the first time since the 1970 season that the Wildcats have scored over 90 points in back-to-back games.

The Wildcats played in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, a place that in the past, has been a house of horrors for them. But on Wednesday, Northwestern got the momentum early in the game, which set the tone for a huge night. That early momentum was a big key for the Wildcats to take the win.

"It's really important, especially on the road," Carmody said. "You got to get out and you got to have that pizzazz right from the get-go."

That early lead carried the rest of the game. Midway through the first half, the Wildcats had a 30-11 lead, and things were just beginning to boil over for the Hawkeyes.

Northwestern had hit nine three-pointers, and capped off the shooting spree with a Juice Thompson fast break layup. First year head coach Fran McCaffery picked up a technical foul, and the frustration was beginning to set in for the Hawkeyes.

From there, Iowa would battle with the Wildcats. The Hawkeyes even outscored the ‘Cats in the second half. But the Hawkeyes were never able to get back into the game, thanks to that big start for Northwestern.

Northwestern finished with four scorers in double-figures, led by Drew Crawford's 19 points. Crawford had struggled early in Big Ten play, but has recently found his stroke. The sophomore forward from Naperville had taken some criticism from head coach Bill Carmody. Carmody admitted he had to be harder on his forward, who he had called a "cutie-pie" just a week and a half ago.

"I think I've been too easy on the guy and not demanding enough of him," Carmody told the media. "I want him to get his nose iun there and not be the suburban jump shooter."

But Crawford has put in the work in practice, which has shown on the court.

"It's just about practicing hard every day," Crawford said. "People say you practice the way you play, and I think that's really true." If you practice hard, you're always going to play well the next day."

With their second conference win in the bags, the Wildcats move on to a big challenge, when they face off with Michigan State on Saturday. Northwestern suffered a heartbreaking three-point loss to the Spartans on January 3rd. Winning in East Lansing will not be an easy task, but a win would be a huge boost to the Wildcat's resume.

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