FACTS & STATS: Site: Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500) -- Iowa City, Iowa. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: NWU 8-7, Iowa 11-2. Away Record: NWU 3-3, Iowa 1-6. Neutral Record: NWU 2-0, Iowa 2-1. Conference Record: NWU 4-6, Iowa 3-7. Series Record: Iowa leads, 109-57.
GAME NOTES: The Northwestern Wildcats try to string back-to-back wins together for the first time in over two months when they visit the Iowa Hawkeyes in a Big Ten matchup at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Northwestern snapped a two-game losing streak last Saturday against Purdue, as Reggie Hearn led all scorers with 26 points in a 75-60 rout at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Jared Swopshire tallied 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks to help the Wildcats rebound from consecutive lopsided losses to Michigan and Nebraska. Dave Sobolewski also scored 13 points and dished out six assists, while Tre Demps scored 12 in the victory.
Iowa, meanwhile, lost its second straight game on Wednesday, as it fell in double overtime to Wisconsin, 74-70. Mike Gesell had a team-high 14 points in the loss, while Aaron White added 13 and Zach McCabe chipped in 10 points off the bench for the Hawkeyes, who fell for the fourth time in five games.
The Hawkeyes have a firm handle on the all-time series with Northwestern, 109-57, and snapped a five-game losing streak in the matchup back on Jan. 13, as it routed the Wildcats, 70-50.
Iowa actually led Wisconsin by nine in the second half, before the Badgers scored eight straight points to narrow the gap. The Hawkeyes had a chance to win in regulation, but Josh Oglesby's 3-pointer at the buzzer was halfway down before rattling out and sending the game to overtime. Neither team found much success in the first overtime as they tallied four points apiece. Iowa quickly fell behind by four in the second OT, but after White put in a layup to make it a one possession game, Iowa fouled Ryan Evans to extend the game. However, he drained both attempts to seal the deal.
The Hawkeyes average an impressive 72.2 ppg and allows just 64.2 ppg, but in a conference as rock solid as the Big Ten, neither number stands out, as they rank third and 10th in the league in each respective category. White leads the way with 13.8 ppg, doing so on nearly 50.8 percent accuracy from the floor, and he also grabs a team-best 6.0 rpg. Roy Devyn Marble is hot on White's heels with 12.9 ppg, but he does so on a less-efficient 38.3 percent shooting. Gesell runs the point and brings 9.1 ppg, 2.9 apg and 1.2 spg to the table.
Northwestern ran its offense to perfection against Purdue, assisting on 24 of its 26 made field goals, while knocking down 11 3-pointers. After turning the ball over six times in the first half, NU did not commit a turnover after the break. The Wildcats also swatted a school-record 12 shots as a team. The previous high was 11 against Loras on Nov. 26, 1984.
Hearn leads the team in scoring, hitting 49.0 percent of his total shots, including almost 37 percent of his long-range tries, to net 14.2 ppg. The loss of Drew Crawford for the season with an injured shoulder (13.5 ppg) continues to haunt the 'Cats, but Sobolewski (11.3 ppg) and Swopshire (9.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg) have tried their best to pick up the slack. Still, NU averages just 63.9 ppg, but does a nice job defensively in yielding only 61.7 ppg.
Northwestern has had trouble scoring points lately, while Iowa plays solid defense and can put the ball in the bucket. Expect that trend to continue for the hometown Hawkeyes on Saturday.