Wildcats’ offensive slump continues against Hawkeyes, lose big at home

By Nader Ihmoud

According to senior guard Alex Marcotullio, frustration is “pretty high” in Evanston, following the Northwestern University Wildcats (10-7 [1-3]) 70-50 loss to the University of Iowa Hawkeyes (12-5 [1-3]) at Welsh Ryan Arena, on Jan. 13.

Although both teams shot terribly during the first half, Iowa managed to build a 10 point lead thanks in part to the Hawkeyes 14-4 run to end the half. The Wildcats had two stints, each over seven minutes, were they could not make a field goal attempt and ended the first half shooting 20 percent.

The Hawkeyes Head Coach Fran McCaffery said  his team’s defense contained the Wildcats three-point shooting and was the key to his team’s victory. Northwestern only made five of their 26 attempts from beyond the arc. The Wildcats entered the game with the third best three-point shooting percentage in the Big Ten at 38 percent.

“I’m typically more concerned with their three-point shooting,” he said. “We’ve had trouble with them making multiple threes over the years.”

After the loss, Carmody brought up the lack of execution by his veteran players such as forward Jarod Swopshire, and guards Reggie Hearn, Dave Sobolewski and Marcotullio.

“I’m trying to tell our team that the veterans have to do it,” Carmody said.

Both teams had freshman on the court who struggled shooting from the field but Carmody made sure to point out that Iowa’s experienced players outplayed Northwestern’s.

Forwards Aaron White and Melsahn Basabe combined to score 28 of the Hawkeyes points on 12 of 15 shooting. Iowa outscored Northwestern 40-18 in the paint and out-rebounded the Wildcats 43-33. The Hawkeyes dominant performance lead to the stadium being filled with “let’s go ‘Hawks” chants as Iowa’s lead expanded to as many as 27, during their first conference win of the season.

Carmody was also upset with his team’s ball movement. He said there was not enough passing and there was too much dribbling.

“[Our defense was] up pressuring [and] that makes it hard for the passer,” said McCaffery. What’s hard to do against that offense is to sustain it the way that we did.”

Despite the struggles that the Wildcats have faced scoring the basket this season, Marcotullio continues to have faith in the Wildcats to find a solution after dissecting the loss in a film session.

“It’s a long season and we have a lot of games to go,” he said.