Wildcats Too Much For Iowa

The Wildcats were clicking on all cylinders on Thursday night. Led by five scorers in double figures, Northwestern rolled by the Iowa Hawkeyes, 83-64, earning its third straight victory.

Northwestern's search for secondary scoring may be over. John Shurna and Drew Crawford have long been the team's primary source of offense throughout the campaign, but their services were only part of the effort on Thursday night.

The Wildcats were strong from start to finish. Led by five players in double-figure scoring, NU rolled past Iowa, 83-64, earning its third straight victory.

"It was just a really nice team victory tonight," NU head coach Bill Carmody said to the media. "(The team was) showing scoring balance, a lot of guys did nice things tonight."

David Soblewski led all scorers with 23 points, while adding seven assists. Reggie Hearn followed up his career performance against Illinois with a strong 16 points on Thursday. Junior guard Alex Marcotullio posted 13 points, all coming in the second half.

Meanwhile, John Shurna posted 17 points and Drew Crawford added 11 points; a big contribution to the win, but not the only source of scoring.

"Teams have been keying on John (Shurna) and Drew (Crawford) all year," said Alex Marcotullio. "It is just time for other players to step up."

Northwestern was strong on both ends of the court in the win. NU shot 56.3 percent from the field and connected on 13 of 25 three-pointers. On defense, the Wildcats' pressure applied in the 1-3-1 forced the Hawkeyes into 18 turnovers.

Iowa would jump to a quick 5-0 lead, but Northwestern would take momentum after that, riding a 19-4 run.

The Wildcats used a 15-3 run in the second half to take a commanding lead. Northwestern connected on six of ten second-half three-pointers. A single-digit lead for NU would evolve into an all-out rout of the Hawkeyes.

Sobolewski, Shurna, Hearn, and Alex Marcotullio each finished with three buckets from long range. NU used a group effort to run away with the win.

"It's a great feeling," Marcotullio said of the scoring output. "When your teammates are hitting shots too, it's a great feeling. This building can get loud pretty fast."

The Hawkeyes found themselves in foul trouble during the first half, which forced them to ease up on their defensive pressure in order to avoid more whistles. That allowed Northwestern better shot attempts and it would take advantage.

Northwestern left Iowa frustrated after the game. Head coach Fran McCaffery had a hard time pinpointing what went wrong for his team.

"Pretty much everything (went wrong), there wasn't anything good about tonight," a disappointed McCaffery said after the game.

The win for Northwestern, combined with a Thursday-night loss from Illinois, places it in a three-way tie for sixth place in the Big Ten, joined by the Illini and Purdue—all with 5-6 conference records.

Northwestern's tournament hopes are on the rise with its three consecutive wins. Its win on Thursday in front of a raucous crowd at Welsh-Ryan Arena was another step closer toward a berth in the Big Dance.

"If you want to be in the mix of anything, you have to win your home games," Carmody said. "There was a lot of energy out there, which was great. I thought the guys played really well."

The Wildcats look to make it four straight wins when they leave their home court to play Purdue at Mackey Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college football, college basketball and college baseball for Fox Sports & Scout.com since 2009. He served as a writer for Big Red Report, covering Nebraska athletics, and is now the Publisher of PurpleWildcats.com, covering the Northwestern Wildcats.
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