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Northwestern-Iowa final score: Wildcats blow late lead, fall 80-79


NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Bohannon and the Iowa Hawkeyes saved the best for last.

Down by as many as 15 points in the second half, the Hawkeyes went on a 23-9 run over the game’s final 4:39, capped off by a Bohannon three-pointer with 0.6 seconds left to lift Iowa to a 80-79 victory. Bohannon scored 13 points in the final 98 seconds of the game.

For Northwestern (12-11, 3-9), Sunday’s result in Iowa City was another example of the team falling just short in heartbreaking fashion.

It was more of a collapse, honestly. The Wildcats had their best offensive performance of Big Ten play for the game’s first 35 minutes, but the Hawkeye full-court pressure bothered the Wildcats in the waning minutes. A.J. Turner and Vic Law missed key free throws down the stretch, which left the door open for the Hawkeyes.

Vic Law, who came into the game having hit just six of 38 attempts from three since the start of the calendar year, went 5-of-8 from beyond-the-arc and paced Northwestern with a game-high 24 points. Northwestern shot 51.8 percent from the floor and 31.48 percent from three, and the Wildcats out-rebounded the Hawkeyes 37-26 (21-10 in the first half) despite playing small for a solid chunk of the night.

Compared to the past several games, Northwestern looked like a totally different offensive team in the first half for most of the night. Law set the tone by making his four threes, and A.J. Turner — who came off the bench after Barret Benson started the game alongside Dererk Pardon — poured in 13 of his 15 in the first half.

After a back-and-forth stretch early in the first half, Northwestern settled in and held a lead. In large part thanks to Law’s explosion in the first 20 minutes, the Wildcats went into the break up 41-35.

In the second half, both teams cooled off offensively, but the Wildcats staved off foul trouble to stay in front. Iowa kept feeding Tyler Cook, who scored 19 points after missing the last matchup between these teams, but Cook missed several short looks around the rim when Iowa needed to make a run.

While Law took over in the first half, it was the Dererk Pardon show for Northwestern in the second. Pardon was patient and efficient with his moves, and he provided much-needed offense when both teams were struggling to score early in the second half.

Then Iowa ramped up its pressure, and Northwestern’s offense folded. With a double-digit lead late in the second half, Northwestern began to turnover the ball over, and Iowa wouldn’t go away. Bohannon, who was quiet for most of the game, came to life in the final two minutes, including the game-winner to put Iowa from down two to up one.

The only way this gets worse is if Northwestern loses to Rutgers.

*checks schedule*