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January 25, 2014

Iowa pulls away for 76-50 win


EVANSTON-It took a little bit longer this time for Iowa to run away with the game, but the result was still the same.

Drew Crawford and Northwestern held their own against the Hawkeyes for a half, but Iowa pulled away in the second to grab a 76-50 win. The victory enabled Iowa to sweep the season series 2-0 with a pair of 26-point wins.

Here, then, are WildcatReport's rapid reactions following the loss:



Did you see that? At this point, there's no question that Sanjay Lumpkin is going to make a highlight-reel play each and every game. The latest edition came when he rejected Mike Gesell's fast-break layup attempt. The block got the NU faithful into the game for the first time and led directly to a Crawford 3-pointer that tied the game at eight.



Offensive player of the game: Crawford. The Cats struggled offensively once again, but Crawford did his best to keep Northwestern in the game. After starting the game off with two 3-pointers, he started to attack the rim, where he found consistent success. Considering the struggles of Alex Olah on the low block, Crawford's success seems even more impressive. His 20 points were the most he's scored in a Big Ten game so far this season.



Defensive player of the game:Lumpkin. His five steals helped keep Northwestern in the game for the first 25 minutes, and he made several hustle plays in the first half, including the big block that earn him the award. He didn't have any rebounds, but the rest of his game made up for it.



Turning point: After a Tre Demps triple pulled Northwestern to within four points with 17:08 remaining, it looked like the Cats would keep things close. Coming out of a timeout, however, Iowa scored to go back up six, Crawford missed a three, and Iowa scored again. The Cats wouldn't threaten again as Iowa made play after play on the offensive end. With so much offensive firepower and depth for the Hawkeyes, it was just a matter of time until they wore Northwestern down. Iowa's press didn't force many turnovers, it made the Cats work much harder for each basket than they did in the first half.



Atmosphere: There have been a lot of complaints about student attendance this season, and the student sections were pretty empty when the game started. But they filled up nicely by the time the game really got under way. For 11 a.m. on a Saturday, it wasn't a bad turnout. The real negative impression? That came from the rest of the arena, where Hawkeye fans completely overpowered those in purple. There were plenty of times when it sounded like this game was being played in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Poor student turnout is definitely a problem, but it certainly isn't the only one.



Key stat: 31. That's how many points Crawford and Demps combined to score. The other nine guys that saw time for Northwestern could only muster 19 as a group. If the Wildcats are going to win games consistently, they have to get better efforts from Olah and JerShon Cobb. Cobb finished with only seven points, and Olah was just 2-of-8 from the field. The big man was unable to finish from point-blank range, and it really hurt Northwestern.



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