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Iowa finding a flow as Northern Illinois arrives


Iowa will look to notch its first three-game winning streak of the season when it faces Northern Illinois on Friday night at Iowa City, Iowa.

The Hawkeyes (7-5) lost consecutive games to then-No. 4 Purdue, Iowa State and Michigan before the schedule softened and they racked up an 88-52 home win over Florida A&M plus a 103-81 home romp over UMBC.

Three Iowa players posted double-doubles in the Dec. 20 win over UMBC. Payton Sandfort recorded 18 points and 10 rebounds, Ben Krikke had 17 points and 12 boards, and Brock Harding added 10 points and 12 assists.

It was the first time since a victory over Fairleigh Dickinson in December 2013 that the Hawkeyes achieved that feat.

Iowa coach Fran McCaffery was impressed with the play of Harding, a freshman who played a season-high 29 minutes.

“I think it’s more who (Brock) is,” McCaffery said. “He’s an incredible competitor and has a tremendous mind for the game. He truly understands what is needed at any given time.

“… We were in the double bonus pretty early because he was driving the ball. We were back-cutting, he was finding people. You look down and see we had a bunch of guys in double figures because of him.”

Iowa had five players score in double digits, with Tony Perkins leading the way as part of a solid all-around effort. Perkins had 23 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals.

The 23 points were a season high for Perkins, who ranks third on the Hawkeyes in scoring at 13.5 points per game. Krikke averages a team-leading 16.8 points while Sandfort is contributing 13.7 points and a team-high 6.9 rebounds.

Iowa is 9-0 all-time against Northern Illinois (6-5), which has lost four of its past five games. The Huskies lost 76-63 to visiting Northern Iowa on Dec. 21 in their most recent effort.

David Coit scored 17 points and Quaran McPherson had a career-best 14 for Northern Illinois.

“With foul trouble and injuries, we had to play some funky lineups, and we just didn’t play well,” Huskies coach Rashon Burno said. “In the second half, Quaran McPherson had big minutes and gave us 14 points, which was huge.”

Coit leads Northern Illinois in scoring (17.5 ppg), assists (3.8), total 3-point baskets (29) and total steals (12). Zarique Nutter averages 15.7 points, and Xavier Amos averages 11.6 points and 6.1 rebounds.

This will be the second Big Ten opponent for the Huskies this season. They lost 89-67 at Northwestern on Nov. 27.

–Field Level Media

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