IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Second-half injuries to starters Jared Swopshire and Alex Olah left Northwestern short-handed down the stretch as the Wildcats fell to Iowa 71-57 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday afternoon.
Reggie Hearn paced Northwestern with 13 points. Swopshire added eight points and seven rebounds before missing the last 13-plus minutes due to injury.
NU managed just 15 first-half points in the first meeting between the teams back on Jan. 13, but the Wildcats matched that total eight minutes into Saturday's contest. Hearn had the hot hand early, scoring six points as Northwestern took a 15-11 lead.
The advantage was 17-13 when Iowa rattled off eight straight points to take a four-point lead of its own.
A switch to the 1-3-1 defense helped the Wildcats get three straight defensive stops and NU scored six consecutive points to reclaim the lead, 23-21. However, the Hawkeyes scored eight of the final 10 points in the half to take a 29-25 lead at the break.
Hearn paced the 'Cats with eight first-half points, while Swopshire pulled down seven rebounds.
Iowa extended its lead to nine as it scored the first five points following the intermission, but a three-point play Swopshire and makes from beyond the arc by Alex Marcotullio and Hearn got Northwestern back within two.
NU's deficit was 40-38 following a triple by Kale Abrahamson, but Olah and Swopshire both went down with injuries and Iowa was able to make the decisive run. The Hawkeyes scored 10 consecutive points to extend their advantage to 12 with just under nine minutes left.
Forced to turn to its bench down the stretch, Northwestern was unable to make a run to get any closer than nine.
Roy Devyn Marble paced the Hawkeyes with a game-high 21 points.
Northwestern returns to action at 6 p.m. Central time Thursday as it travels to Ohio State.