You could chalk it up to awful shooting (15-51), bad offensive execution or a solid defensive effort by the Hawkeyes. But afterwards, Bill Carmody harped on a poor showing from his veterans, calling out his seasoned players to set the tone and lead.
"I've been trying to tell our team the veterans have to do it," he said. "I didn't think they did enough today for us to win. We weren't able to do anything. We're having a hard time figuring out who's going to score."
The numbers don't lie: Northwestern's seniors didn't have it on Sunday. Jared Swopshire went 1-6 with two points. Reggie Hearn, 2-6 for just six points. Alex Marcotullio shot 1-5, all from three and finished with only five.
Sophomore Dave Sobolewski led Northwestern with 14 points and five assists, but shot 4-11 and 0-5 from downtown. And as the Wildcats' leaders struggled, Iowa's vets took over the game.
"Their veterans won the game," said Carmody. "[Aaron] White, [Devyn] Marble, [Melsahn] Basabe all had really good games. They shot 7-9. 4-8, 5-6 [respectively] and we didn't get that out of our guys."
It was a particularly disappointing contest for the Wildcats, fresh off a 70-54 win at Penn State in which. Jared Swopshire had his best game of the year with 17 points and seven rebounds. His performance, Carmody said, has often been crucial to Northwestern's results. Unfortunately, the fifth-year transfer's play has been painfully inconsistent, and that continued Sunday.
"When Swopshire scores 12 or so, we usually win," said Carmody. "When he's not scoring, we seem to be floating out there an awful lot. The veterans have to come through for us."
Northwestern looks to get back on track Thursday against in-state rival Illinois in Champaign. The twelfth-ranked Illini [14-4, 1-3 Big Ten] pose another tough matchup for the Wildcats. To prevail, their leaders must step up in a big way. Consider them fully aware of their responsibilities.
"Coach was expecting a lot of us, as he should be," said Marcotullio. "We have to step up, especially the guys who have played here before.
We just have to do more, bottom line: we have to get more rebounds, knock down shots and do things that help the team win."
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