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Iowa hosts Northwestern, aims for Big Ten push

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It was about this time last season that Iowa got on a run that carried the Hawkeyes all the way to the Big Ten conference tournament title.

They looked ready on Sunday to make a similar surge when they rang up Rutgers’ defense for a season-high point total during a 93-82 Big Ten win at Iowa City, hitting 12 3-pointers and draining 29 of 34 foul shots.

Iowa will try to solve another strong defensive team on Tuesday night when it hosts Northwestern in a Big Ten clash.

Kris Murray led the Hawkeyes (13-8, 5-5) to their second win of the season against Rutgers with 24 points, while Ahron Ulis added 16. Patrick McCaffery returned from a six-game absence due to anxiety and scored 11 to boost his team.

“It has been an emotional last couple of weeks,” McCafferey said. “Going out there and getting the love from Hawkeye fans was something that made me feel really great. It made me feel like it was worth it to come back.”

Murray leads the team with an average of 20.8 points per game, hitting 50.6 percent of his shots, and 8.6 rebounds. Filip Rebraca adds 13.7 points and 8.4 boards, while McCaffery averages 12.5 points and Tony Perkins chips in 10.6.

Northwestern (15-5, 6-3) is well on its way to the second NCAA Tournament berth in school history after winning three conference games in six days last week. The Wildcats trounced Minnesota 81-61 on Saturday, establishing a 45-28 halftime lead and never looking back.

The familiar backcourt duo of Chase Audige and Boo Buie took care of most of the scoring. Audige pumped in a game-high 24 on 14 shots, while Buie added 21 points and eight assists. Northwestern hit 51.7 percent of its shots and committed only four turnovers.

“College guys aren’t used to playing this many games in a short span of time,” Wildcats coach Chris Collins said. “Our guys were fantastic about it.”

Tuesday’s game was scheduled for Jan. 18 but postponed because of COVID-19 concerns within Northwestern’s program.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media was founded by sports media executives with more than 40 years of combined experience working with the most influential media companies in the industry.

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