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March 14, 2013

NU season closes in tourney opener

CHICAGO -- Northwestern dug itself an early deficit it couldn't overcome as it fell to Iowa 73-59 in the opening round of the 2013 Big Ten Tournament Thursday evening at United Center.

Reggie Hearn posted a double-double for NU with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds in his final collegiate game. Alex Olah contributed 12 points and seven boards, while Tre Demps added 11 points.

The Wildcats had trouble getting things going early on as it missed its first seven field goal attempts and committed three turnovers in the opening seven minutes of play as Iowa jumped out to an 11-0 lead.

Nikola Cerina finally got NU on the board at the 12:30 mark as he scored on a layup. The Hawkeyes' advantage eventually grew to 15-2 before Hearn knocked down a 3-pointer out of the corner and Olah made two free throws and then scored on a lay-in to get Northwestern within 15-9.

However, Iowa responded eight consecutive points as its advantage grew to 23-9 with just under eight minutes remaining in the opening half. The deficit would grow to 18, but Demps finally connected on a 3-point try - just the second in 12 attempts for the 'Cats - making it 31-18 with 3:26 left.

Olah's slam got the Wildcats within 12, but Aaron White's two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to make it 36-22 at the break.

Northwestern continued to hang around, closing to within 11, 43-32, with 13:27 left following a pair of free throws by Alex Marcotullio. A putback Hearn and then a steal and a breakaway layup by Marcotullio closed the 'Cats to within 47-39 with 9:45 remaining.

NU inched ever-closer when Hearn drove the lane and scored, making it a seven-point game, 50-43, with 8:27 still to go. However, Iowa responded with back-to-back 3-pointers by Roy Devyn Marble and Eric May, pushing the Hawkeyes' lead back to 13.

Marcotullio responded with a triple of his own and when Olah slammed one home and hit the ensuing free throw, the Wildcats closed back to within 58-48 with five minutes to go.

Marble had the answer yet again, though, hitting a three out of the corner that extended Iowa's lead back to 12.

Dave Sobolewski's 3-pointer with two minutes left got Northwestern within 64-56, but that would be as close as they would get as Iowa advanced to take on Michigan State in Friday's quarterfinal round.

Northwestern NEWS


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