Iowa survived a sluggish first half, then held off a late rally by Northwestern to secure a 66-58 win last night in Iowa City. The Hawks are now 7-5 in the Big Ten and with Indiana’s loss to Purdue, Iowa has moved to within a half game of third place in the conference race.
“I’m just so pleased with what this team’s doing,” Iowa coach Steve Alford said after the game. “To be sitting here at 7 and 5 and we’ve got, obviously, four crucial games left. These kids are on a mission. They’re playing hard”
The game was tied at 29 at the half but the Hawkeyes built an 11-point lead in the second half before the Wildcats rallied. Adam Haluska led the Hawkeyes with 29 points, and his coach says Haluska has learned how to score. Alford says Haluska had a poor shooting night, but he says Haluska got to the free-throw line and has learned how to score.
The Hawkeyes gave a lackluster effort in the opening half and Junior guard Justin Johnson says Alford was not happy at halftime. “I mean, basically he just said: ‘Step it up,'” Johnston says. “He got pretty angry at us but like we knew we had to come out and play in the second half.” Iowa is 15-11 overall and visits Michigan State Saturday.