Iowa will look to continue its impressive turnaround when it visits surging Northwestern in a pivotal Big Ten game on Sunday in Evanston, Ill.
The Hawkeyes (17-9, 9-6) have rebounded from an 0-3 start in league play and won for the fifth time in six games with a 92-75 victory against Ohio State on Thursday.
Iowa is just a game behind Northwestern (19-7, 10-5), which extended its winning streak to four with a thrilling 64-62 home win against No. 14 Indiana on Wednesday.
Iowa ended the first half against the Buckeyes by hitting five 3-pointers in the final five minutes to take a 47-36 halftime advantage. The Hawkeyes led by as many as 28 in the second half.
Tony Perkins and Kris Murray led the way with 24 points apiece. Ahron Ulis chipped in 12 and Filip Rebraca and Payton Sandford both finished with 10 points.
Sixth-year senior Connor McCaffrey tallied a career-best 13 assists to go along with seven points and six rebounds against the Buckeyes.
Like Iowa, Northwestern is playing its best basketball of the season. The Wildcats followed up a Feb. 12 win against then-No. 1 Purdue by holding on to beat the Hoosiers.
The Wildcats squandered a 42-22 lead in the second half as the Hoosiers tied the game at 62 with 28 seconds left. But Boo Buie hit a short hook shot with two seconds left to lift the Wildcats to victory.
“More people need to wake up,” Buie said. “This isn’t luck. It can’t be luck at this point.”
Buie had 21 points, six rebounds and four assists, while Chase Audige added 14 and Robbie Beran chipped in 12.
In the two teams’ first meeting of the year on Jan. 31, they were tied at halftime before the Hawkeyes outscored the Wildcats 47-31 in the second half in an 86-70 win.
Iowa was led by Rebraca, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Sandfort came off the bench to score 20. Murray had 16 points and McCaffrey added 11.
Buie led the Wildcats with 20 points, but Audige (15) was the only other Wildcat to finish in double figures.
“I’m excited,” McCaffrey said when asked about the rematch against the Wildcats. “I mean, that’s a good team. They got veteran guys, they got really good guards. They defend. They really guard. And, I know we kind of got hot at the end (of our first meeting). So they’re gonna be on a revenge tour, definitely.”
–Field Level Media