The game started eerily similar to their first matchup, which was a 19-point win over the Hawkeyes. Northwestern drained six three-pointers in the first nine minutes of the game, giving themselves an early double-digit lead.
After that, Iowa was able to battle back, and make it a tightly-contested game.
"It's never a bad thing to get off to a good start like we did today," said senior guard Michael Thompson. "Iowa did a good job to battle back. We kept our composure and made some big plays."
Thompson led the Wildcats with 16 points and nine assists, leaving him just one assist shy of his career-high. Northwestern finished with four scorers in double-figures, including Drew Crawford and Jershon Cobb with 15 points and Luka Mirkovic with 13 points.
Iowa finished with five scorers in double-figures, led by senior forward Jarryd Cole, who finished with 17 points.
Iowa briefly led in the second half, before Northwestern took control. After the 18:12 mark in the second half, the Wildcats never let up their lead. However, it would not be easy.
With three minutes remaining in the second half, Northwestern held a seven-point lead. The Hawkeyes scored four quick points on buckets by Bryce Cartwright and Melsahn Basabe, and that led was cut down to three.
The Wildcats appeared to have hit the dagger when senior center Luka Mirkovic drained his second three-pointer of the game. Iowa battled back again.
First, Bryce Cartwright drained another jump-shot. With 16 seconds remaining, JerShon Cobb missed the front-end of a one-and-one. After a missed shot by Eric May, Jarryd Cole tipped the ball in, and the lead was cut to two with five seconds remaining. Juice Thompson hit one of two free throws, and Iowa had a chance. But former high school quarterback Zach McCabe overthrew a full-court inbound pass, and that ended the game.
Going into Thursday, the Wildcats had lost five of their last six games, capped off by an embarrassing 24-point loss at the hands of Penn State. But Northwestern returned to practice with their heads held high, and were able to regroup to give Iowa a fight.
"We've lost a few in a row—too many," said Bill Carmody. "This team isn't quitting. There have been injuries and different things. You just like to see them fight and fight."
That fight was shown early in the game, when Northwestern came out nailing three-pointers. The outcome was a lot closer on Thursday than it was the first matchup in Iowa City, but it again ended with a Northwestern win, and a season sweep of the Hawkeyes.
The Wildcats return to action in fewer than 48 hours, when they travel to Bloomington to take on the Indiana Hoosiers. This is a part of an unfortunate scheduling issue that breaks the Big Ten rule of having a two-day gap in-between conference games. While the issue bothers Bill Carmody, the head coach said he won't let it affect his team.
"It's bad scheduling," said Carmody. "You're supposed to have a minimum two game in between. We have to travel. I'm not going to let these guys use it as an excuse. But that bothers me."
Tipoff for Saturday's game is set for 6:00 in Assembly Hall.