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Northwestern basketball continues to struggle at home in 70-50 loss to Iowa

Northwestern guard Dave Sobolewski left drives basket against Iowguard Mike Gesell during second half an NCAA college basketball game EvanstIll.

Northwestern guard Dave Sobolewski, left, drives to the basket against Iowa guard Mike Gesell during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. Iowa won 70-50. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

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Updated: January 14, 2013 12:37AM



Northwestern announced a three-year radio-rights extension with WGN before its game Sunday against Iowa, then turned in a performance that had all the audio entertainment value of a traffic update or a farm report.

The Wildcats have had trouble scoring all season. But when they shoot as poorly as they did in their 70-50 loss to the Hawkeyes at Welsh-Ryan Arena, not only do they have no chance to defeat quality Big Ten opponents, but the result is as hard on the eyes as it is on the ears.

It was NU’s sixth loss in its last eight home games and snapped a six-game winning streak against Iowa (12-5, 1-3). The Wildcats (10-7, 1-3) shot 29.4 percent from the field, including 19.2 percent from beyond the three-point arc, and made only 60 percent of their free throws in a game that saw purple-clad fans streaming for the exits with more than five minutes left.

‘‘I’ve been trying to tell our team the veterans have to do it,’’ NU coach Bill Carmody said. ‘‘Anything we get from younger guys is gravy, just like [Iowa]. Their freshmen were out there and competed but weren’t able to do anything. It has to be your veterans. Our veterans didn’t do enough to make us win.’’

Three freshmen start for the Hawkeyes. Adam Woodbury, Mike Gessell and Anthony Clemmons combined to shoot 2-for-17 from the field, but more experienced players such as Aaron White (17 points), Josh Oglesby (14) and Gabriel Olaseni (11) filled the void.

Wildcats youngsters Kale Abrahamson, Alex Olah and Tre Demps combined to shoot 5-for-18, but veterans Jared Swopshire (1-for-6), Reggie Hearn (2-for-6) and Alex Marcotullio (1-for-5) struggled just as badly.

‘‘Coach is expecting a lot out of us, as he should be,’’ Marcotullio said. ‘‘We have to step up — me, Reggie, Swop, the guys who have played here for a couple of years or even one year. We have to do more, that’s the bottom line. We have to get more rebounds, knock down shots and do things that help the team win.’’

NU made one field goal in the final 9:31 of the first half and had only five in the first 20 minutes. It shot 21 percent from the field, including 9 percent from behind the arc, and trailed 25-15 at the break.

When it was over, the Wildcats had tied their season lows for field goals made with 15 and three-pointers made with four. They also were outscored 40-18 in the paint and were outrebounded by 10.

Dave Sobolewski led NU with 14 points, and Demps contributed 10.

‘‘We got good looks,’’ Marcotullio said. ‘‘It’s just some of these are out of the context of our offense. Sometimes our feet aren’t set, or we’re in a different position than we’re used to when we shoot it. That accumulates and attributes for the 5-for-26 from three[-point range].

‘‘We have to score more inside. That will open up our shooting lanes and allow us to drive and kick a little bit.”



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