Northwestern has never made an NCAA Tournament and ranks 347th in the NCAA in scoring. The Wildcats aren’t exactly the scariest opponent in a deep Big Ten, but Chris Collins’ bunch had won three out of four games entering Saturday’s home game against No. 10 Iowa, so the Hawkeyes couldn’t take Northwestern lightly.
After a first half that saw Northwestern hang around, the Hawkeyes used their deep rotation and potent offense in the second half to slow down Northwestern on their way to a 76-50 Big Ten road win on Saturday.
The Hawkeyes led 30-24 at the half, and shot 50 percent from the field, but turned the ball over 10 times to keep Northwestern (10-11, 3-5) in the game. The Hawkeyes (16-4, 5-2) limited turnovers in the second half — committing only five of them — and senior Roy Devyn Marble finally got rolling after a scoreless first half.
This has been a recent trend for Marble in Big Ten play, as the guard was held to a single point in last Sunday’s Hawkeye win over Minnesota. Marble rebounded nicely against Northwestern in the second half — like he did against Minnesota — and finished with 14 points to help pace the Hawkeye second-half offense.
It was also a great effort for forward Gabriel Olasani, who registered a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in only 17 minutes of play for Iowa. The play of sophomore point guard Mike Gesell was also outstanding, as the floor leader limited turnovers, ran Iowa’s offense and finished with 11 points and six assists while only turning it over once.
Iowa has a lot of depth, and although scoring leaders like Roy Devyn Marble and wing Aaron White can have off-nights or scoreless halves, the Hawkeyes have enough depth against most teams to withstand a poor effort from one of those guys.
(This will be updated throughout the day.)
GAME OF THE DAY: Syracuse 74, No. 25 Texas A&M 67
The Orange got 20 points from Michael Gbinije and 15 points and five assists from Trevor Cooney as they won the Battle 4 Atlantis title on Friday afternoon. We wrote on this game earlier. Are the Orange for real this year?
No. 10 Gonzaga 73, No. 17 UConn 70: Eric McClellan and Kyle Dranginis made some big plays down the stretch as the Bulldogs held on to win a game they led by as much as 21 in the second half. Kyle Wiltjer scored a team-best 17 points for Gonzaga, which finished third at the Battle 4 Atlantis. Rob Dauster wrote more about the Bulldogs and their second-half performance here.
Alabama 64, No. 20 Wichita State 60: Not only did the Shockers drop their second straight at the AdvoCare Invitational, but they also saw Anton Grady leave the game on a stretcher after being involved in a scary second-half collision. He was awake and alert shortly after leaving the court. While the Shockers’ losses to USC and Alabama don’t help them from an NCAA tournament standpoint, the bigger issue is the team’s health.
Quincy Ford, Northeastern: Not only did he score 24 points in the upset win over No. 15 Miami, but he hit the game-winning jumper, too. Video here.
Wichita State’s bigs: Five of them (Anton Grady, Zach Brown, Rashard Kelly, Bush Wakumota, Eric Hamilton) finished a combined 3-for-21 from the floor with 14 points and 14 fouls. Wakumota shot one of the worst threes you’ll ever see with Wichita State down 62-60 with 10 seconds left.
Grady suffered a scary neck injury late in the game, but early reports sound positive.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- Jamal Murray went for 21 points and three assists without a turnover at No. 1 Kentucky rolled over South Florida. The big question: How bad is Tyler Ulis’ elbow injury?
- Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart both had 13 points as No. 8 Villanova knocked off Georgia Tech to win the Preseason NIT, 69-52.
- No. 23 Xavier raced out of the gates against USC and led by as much as 32, going on to win 87-77 in Orlando. Trevon Bluiett led four Musketeers in double figures with 16 points and James Farr added 12 to go along with nine rebounds off the bench.
OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS
- Stanford finished third at the Preseason NIT with a 69-66 win over Arkansas, closing the game on a stunning 21-1 run. Rosco Allen scored eight of his career-high 25 points during that run, and Marcus Allen’s goal-tended layup with 2.6 seconds remaining gave the Cardinal the lead for good.
UNLV sophomore Goodluck Okonoboh is transferring out of the program, a source told NBCSports.com.
The 6-foot-10 center was the No. 31 recruit in the Class of 2014, but he never was able to find a place in the UNLV rotation. He averaged 2.9 blocks as a freshman, but is a career 34 percent free throw shooter that never proved he could be more than just an athlete.
With Ben Carter getting eligible and UNLV landing Stephen Zimmerman this season, Okonoboh’s minutes dried up. He played just 19 minutes total against UCLA and Indiana.