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Wildcats suffer blowout loss to Hawkeyes

Northwestern Wildcats fail to extend its life in the Big Ten Tournament.

Senior forward, Pete Nance, played his last collegiate basketball game as a Northwestern Wildcat. Falling to the Iowa Hawkeyes, 76-112, the 'Cats Big Ten Tournament journey came to end.

Iowa started out hot from the second they won the jump ball, hitting five unanswered points on Northwestern. Boo Buie finally got the ‘Cats on the board with a two, but the Hawkeyes’ offense was quick to the draw and followed with two pullup threes by Jordan Bohannon.

But, it was Keegan Murray who was the standout for Iowa today, boasting 26 points, eight rebounds, and two assists. Murray went three-for-three on field goal attempts and showed out with a breakaway dunk just four minutes into the first half.

“We're moving the ball really well, especially at the start of games and that's kind of fed into different guys getting easy looks and we're getting the stops we needed,” said Murray on the Hawkeyes’ domineering presence in the first.

Even with the ‘Cats shooting consistency, Iowa continued to go shot-for-shot with them. Nance worked mainly from the inside hitting layups and making some key assists, but it wasn’t enough to fight off Iowa’s substantial lead. The first half ended with the ‘Cats in a 33-point deficit to the Hawkeyes, 31-64.

Northwestern shifted momentum going into the second and went on an eight-point scoring run right out of the gate, Julian Roper II and Buie hitting consecutive threes. But, not to be outdone by Iowa’s 13-point run thereafter. With the Hawkeyes creeping up to triple-digit territory, the ‘Cats struggled to keep energy on the court.

“Any time we had any kind of breakdown, they made us pay for it,” said Coach Chris Collins on Iowa’s level of play. “They shot the ball, you know, at an incredibly high clip.”

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The ‘Cats had another run late in the second with five minutes left on the clock. Roper II hit back-to-back threes before he received his fifth personal foul. From there, the Hawkeyes continued to pursue the ‘Cats. The game ended with a shot outside the paint by Iowa redshirt senior, Austin Ash, whose team's score was well into the hundreds. 

A bitter end for the Wildcat seniors, their team ending with a score of 76-112. With slim chances of making it to the big dance, Nance reflected on his time with Northwestern basketball.

“I'm just really thankful for everybody along the way who's gotten me to this point,” said Nance. “I feel like I've come a long way and I'm just proud of being a Northwestern Wildcat, for sure.”

The Iowa Hawkeyes broke three Big Ten records: highest number of points scored, three-pointers made, and field goals made during a tournament game. They will move to the third round of the Big Ten Tournament where they'll face the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, March 11 at 1 p.m.

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