Northwestern can only hope a 70-50 loss to Iowa was its worst showing of the season.
The stat line is ugly: 29.4 percent from the field; 5-of-26 from beyond the arc; just nine assists. The unpleasant evidence goes on and on.
Without Drew Crawford and Jershon Cobb, it was expected Northwestern would struggle to make up for the production lost. However, it was assumed someone would pick up the slack. The Wildcats’ two leading scorers from Sunday, Dave Sobolewski and Tre Demps, combined to hit seven of 22 shots from the field.
“We’re having a hard time putting the ball in the basket,” head coach Bill Carmody simply stated after the loss.
At the halftime break, the Wildcats had just 15 points to their name and had hit 20.8 percent from the field. Fortunately for them, Iowa wasn’t much better, leading by just 10 points.
Minutes into the second half, senior guard Alex Marcotullio connected on a long three-pointer, cutting the Hawkeyes’ lead to just nine points. On the other end of the court, Iowa’s Aaron White hit a jumper, part of his game-high 17-point performance. NU never got the score closer than that.
Iowa followed suit on its scouting report, cutting off Northwestern’s passing lanes while containing the three-point shot.
“They defended us pretty well today,” Marcotullio said. “They had us scouted. We’ve got to go to the drawing board and get it corrected.”
While the Hawkeyes surely deserve plenty of credit, Northwestern’s offensive effort was far from pretty. Its struggles continued for yet another night.
“It’s been throughout the whole year, to tell you the truth,” Carmody said. “We’re having a hard time figuring out who’s going to score.”
Carmody pointed to the lack of aggression and production from his senior class as a key issue his team has encountered. Marcotullio, seated next to his coach as the statements were made, could only agree.
“Coach is expecting a lot out of us, as he should be,” he said. “We’ve got to step up. We’ve got to do more. That’s the bottom line.”
The next week won’t be easy for Northwestern. It must travel to Champaign for a game with rival No. 12 Illinois, then hosts No. 5 Indiana at Welsh-Ryan Arena days later.
Inside the Northwestern locker room, there isn’t much to smile about. The Wildcats must try to keep morale high.
“I’d say [frustration] is pretty high,” Marcotullio conceded. “But it’s a long season. We have to stay positive.”