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Hawkeyes pull away for win over Wildcats

Tom Kakert01/31/23
Article written by:On3 imageTom Kakert


Iowa win
Photo: Dennis Scheidt

Big Ten basketball can be a battle and it was on Tuesday night in Iowa City. The Iowa Hawkeyes and the Northwestern Wildcats traded blows until the midway point of the second half and then Iowa pulled away for a convincing 86-70 victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

With the victory, Iowa moved to 14-8 overall and 6-5 in conference play this season. Northwestern, who came into the game riding a three game win streak, drop to 15-6 and 6-4 overall.  

Early on the Wildcats opened up a lead in the first half thanks to the strong defensive effort. The two teams were trading blows back and forth for much of the half. Iowa took a three point lead, 25-22, on a Payton Sandfort three pointer with 8:05 left in the half.

From that point on, Northwestern went on a 13-1 run, capped by a Chase Audige three pointer to put the Wildcats up 35-26 with 3:30 remaining in the half. But, the Hawkeyes responded with a run of their own to end the half. Iowa went on a 13-3 run to close the half and scored the last five, including a three pointer by Sandfort to finish the half and tie at game at 39 at the break.

Sandfort was the story in the second half as well. He scored 14 of his 20 points after the break, leading Iowa to the convincing victory. However, before Iowa could think about pulling away, the Wildcats came out of the locker room strong. Veteran guard Boo Buie, who led Northwestern with 20 points, scored the first five points of the second twenty minutes and the Wildcats were up 44-39.

Iowa responded and eventually took the lead at 49-48 after a pair of free throws from Tony Perkins. The game stayed tight and with 7:38 left in the game, Buie made a free throw to bring Northwestern within three, 62-59.

That’s when Filip Rebraca and Sandfort took over. Rebraca, who also had 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, scored eight straight points for the Hawkeyes and Iowa was suddenly breaking the game open, leading 73-63 with 4:37 left in the contest. The game was officially put out of reach on the next Iowa possession when Sandfort hit a three pointer and was fouled on the play. In addition, a technical was called on the Northwestern bench and the result was a six point play. With Iowa up 79-65, the Hawkeyes then finished this one off down the stretch.

The Hawkeyes had five players in double figures. In addition to Sandfort and Rebraca, Kris Murray chipped in with 16 points and 8 rebounds, Tony Perkins had 12 points and Connor McCaffery scored 11.

Next up for the Hawkeyes is a date on Saturday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena against Illinois. That game is set for 1:30 and will air on FOX.