By: Fredrick Bugyei
In a matchup of 3-2 teams, the Northwestern Men’s basketball team looked to secure their first home victory of conference play against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The ‘Cats completed their mission and did so in dominant fashion. The team lead after the first 33 seconds and never looked back in their 89-54 route of the young Hawkeyes.
Dererk Pardon opened the game with an early tip in, and after Scottie Lindsey and Bryant McIntosh hit consecutive three-pointers, the Wildcats had an 8-0 lead and Iowa called a timeout two and a half minutes in.
The early barrage never stopped as the Wildcats lead by as much as 16 points in the first half and took a 44-32 lead into halftime while shooting over 54% from the field.
Northwestern started the second half on a 8-2 run capped off by a McIntosh feed to Pardon for another bucket, but Iowa closed the gap and a Nicholas Baer three-pointer with 13 minutes left cut the Wildcat lead to 56-47.
The Hawkeyes would not get any closer, as Northwestern went on a 26-3 run highlighted by three Pardon dunks (the sophomore finished with 14 points and nine rebounds) and an emphatic Lindsey throw down that signaled the rout was on.
Overall, the Wildcats outscored Iowa 33-7 in the final 13:07. Northwestern coach Chris Collins said the team, “had the best 40 minute performance of the year.”
The Wildcats 15-4 (4-2) shot a scorching 60 percent from the field and were led by McIntosh and Lindsey. Collins said they, “quietly like to view themselves as an elite backcourt,” and the duo certainly played like one Sunday, with McIntosh finishing with 20 points and 10 assists, and Lindsey leading the Wildcats with 22 points.
Collins said of McIntosh’s effort, “tonight was vintage B-Mac… he had that game under control.” The point guard bounced back from a subpar game against Rutgers to shot 81.8 percent from the field and dish out 10 assists in a 20-10 effort.
The much anticipated match-up of Vic Law vs Peter Jok took a back seat to the brilliance of McIntosh and Lindsey. For Iowa 11-8 (3-3) the much heralded Jok scored only four points on a disappointing 2-9 shooting performance. As for why he played 6 minutes in the second half coach McCaffery said, “his back was bothering him and I took him out.” Law was tasked with guarding Jok and played extremely aggressive defense while also contributing 12 points himself.
As for what Iowa coach Fran McCaffery liked from his team, he said, “Not much.”
Northwestern will look to use this 35 point win over Iowa, the largest margin of victory against the Hawkeyes in team history, as a launching point in their Big Ten season. The ‘Cats will be taking their momentum into Columbus for a showdown against a struggling Ohio State team. Ohio State is only 1-4 in conference play, but the Buckeyes notched their first conference win Sunday against conference heavyweight Michigan State.