Iowa buries Wildcats with 3s


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Nineteen seconds into Wednesday night’s game between Iowa and Northwestern, sophomore Matt Gatens stood 25 feet away from the basket and calmly swished a 3-pointer.

It was the beginning of a long night for the NCAA Tournament-hopeful Wildcats (16-8, 5-7), as the Hawkeyes (9-16, 3-9) scorched head coach Bill Carmody’s 1-3-1 zone for 12 triples on their way to a 78-65 victory in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Gatens led Iowa with 16 points, and 3-point specialist Devan Bawinkel added 15 — all coming from beyond the arc. It was the ninth time this year the Hawkeyes made double-digit 3-pointers. They are now 4-5 in those games.

Wednesday’s victory, in which Iowa had a season-low-tying eight turnovers, also broke the team’s four-game losing streak.

“I think there’s a lot to be said for guys who persevere and don’t give up,” Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter said. “And I’m not saying we have everything fixed, but we’ve been playing good basketball.”

It took Iowa almost four minutes to score its first field goal in the second half, with Gatens hitting a running lay-up. Not long after, over a one-minute span, the Hawkeyes and Wildcats traded 3-pointers on four-consecutive possessions.

Michael Thompson, John Shurna, Cully Payne, and Bawinkel all got in on the act.

The Hawkeyes, however, prevailed. Gatens and freshman Brennan Cougill nailed consecutive 3s, giving Iowa a 16-point advantage at the 12:19 mark.

But five quick points from freshman Drew Crawford got Northwestern within 11.

Back-to-back triples from Eric May, who was held to two points in the first half, widened Iowa’s lead to 15 again. The freshman finished with eight points.

Iowa shot 23-of-46 (50 percent), 12-of-24 (50 percent) from 3-point range.

“It’s good to see guys get some confidence back,” Gatens said. “We obviously shoot a lot of 3s, and when we’re making them, it helps out a lot.”

On a night defined by long-range bombs, an old-fashioned three-point play from junior Jarryd Cole gave Iowa a 19-point lead with 4:48 left and sealed the contest.

Sophomore Aaron Fuller recorded his fourth double-double of his career with 13 points and 11 rebounds, despite being hampered with foul trouble much of the game. Cole added 13 points and snagged seven rebounds.

“We just got smacked pretty good,” Carmody said. “I don’t know what to else say.”

Iowa ran out to a 14-6 lead, scoring on six of its first seven possessions and netting 12 points before the under-16 time-out. Lickliter’s squad was up as much as 15, much thanks to its 3-point shooting against Northwestern’s zone.

Bawinkel, the Hawkeyes’ only senior, made four 3-pointers in the first half. Thompson, who finished with 20, countered by hitting three triples of his own in the game’s first 20 minutes.

But that was about all that went right for Northwestern. Shots consistently clanked off the rim — the Wildcats shot 9-for-25 (36 percent) in the first half — while nearly everything fell for Iowa (12-of-26, 46 percent).

After Carmody’s big man, Luka Mirkovic, missed a point-blank lay-up, Cougill swished a 3-pointer.

The Hawkeyes’ 13-point halftime lead was its largest since Dec. 21, 2009.

“I really like this group,” Lickliter said. “I’m proud of them, and I believe in them.”

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