Iowa beats Northwestern 69-52
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Last season, Iowa was defined by its late collapse.
This year's Hawkeyes are finishing a lot better than they started.
Senior Aaron White scored 25 points and Iowa pounded Northwestern 69-52 on Saturday for its first six-game Big Ten winning streak in 28 years.
White also passed Acie Earl for the second-most points in school history for the Hawkeyes (21-10, 12-6 Big Ten), who remain in contention for a double-bye in next week's Big Ten tournament.
Iowa never trailed in its final home game of the year. The Hawkeyes turned a six-point halftime lead into a 52-35 advantage midway through the second half and finished their conference slate with identical 6-3 home and road records.
They're also playing their best basketball a year after closing out the regular season on a 1-5 slide.
''I thought, from an energy level standpoint, from the beginning, we were really locked in,'' Coach Fran McCaffery said. ''We got a lead and kept it.''
Tre Demps had 15 points for Northwestern (15-16, 6-12), which lost for just the second time in seven games.
Iowa's last loss came at Northwestern on Feb. 15, an overtime defeat that threatened to doom its NCAA tournament chances.
The surging Hawkeyes weren't about to get swept by the Wildcats.
White buried two 3s and threw down a vicious alley-oop dunk in the first few minutes and Iowa was on its way. The Hawkeyes let Northwestern get within a possession on a few occasions, but they pushed their lead back up to 37-27 on a White dunk early in the second half.
White's last alley-oop dunk came with just under five minutes left. He stopped, turned to the crowd with a smile and briefly indulged in one of the final standing ovations of his storied career.
White now has 1,793 points. He's also the only active player in the country with more than 1,700 points, 850 rebounds, 175 assists and 125 steals.
''It's pretty amazing when you look at all the different categories that he has impacted, and most importantly, how that affects our ability to win and how it affects his teammates' ability to be successful. That, to me, is the true measure of greatness,'' McCaffery said.
Jarrod Uthoff had 16 points and Adam Woodbury scored 13 for Iowa.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes senior class won 59 games at home, the most in school history. Iowa's 1998, 2008 and 2009 seniors won 54 games in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Northwestern: The day got off to a bumpy start when Wildcats center Alex Olah knocked over a shot clock. Olah threw down a dunk in warmups about 45 minutes before tip, sending the clock careening into the base of the hoop. The rest of the Wildcats went to the other end of the floor to finish pregame activities while Iowa officials scrambled to fix it. It only took a few minutes before the clock was back in its original spot above the backboard.
The Big Ten tournament for both teams.
Iowa outrebounded Northwestern 14-1 on the offensive glass. That led to 18 more shots for the Hawkeyes, who won going away despite shooting just three percent higher than Northwestern...The Wildcats had 15 turnovers against just 14 assists...Iowa point guard Mike Gesell had no points, but nine assists and just one turnover.
Saturday's finale was particularly special for London native Gabe Olaseni, who along with White and Josh Oglesby played his final home game at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Olaseni's mother Yvette and two of his siblings made their first trip to Iowa to watch Gabe play in person, capping a trying season for the family. Benson Olaseni, Gabe's father, died in November following a short illness.