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.