EVANSTON, Ill. — There was no hangover for the Iowa basketball team Saturday.
The Hawkeyes responded to a tough loss at Michigan by shredding Northwestern in the second half, rolling to a 76-50 victory over the Wildcats at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Northwestern had been one of the Big Ten’s hottest teams in the past two weeks, winning three of four games, but the Wildcats were outrebounded badly by Iowa and wore down in the second half as the game degenerated into a rout.
Iowa center Gabe Olaseni matched his career high with 14 points and added 10 rebounds in just 17 minutes. Senior Devyn Marble got off to another slow start, but he also scored 14 points, all of them coming in the second half.
The 10th-ranked Hawkeyes (16-4, 5-2 Big Ten) held a 30-24 lead at halftime, but gradually added to the lead early in the second half, then broke the game open with an 11-0 run that was mostly Marble and Olaseni.
“The coaches at halftime just told us to get back to the game plan," Olaseni said on Iowa’s postgame radio broadcast. “Get defensive stops and start ratcheting up the energy."
Marble said he was determined to be more aggressive after his scoreless first half.
“I was too laid back I think in the first half," Marble said. "Coach (Fran) McCaffery let me know that throughout the first half and at halftime. He said, 'I need you to bounce back in the second half.'"
Northwestern had used tight defense to hold opponents to 51 points per game in its recent four-game run. The Hawkyes scored 46 in the second half alone.
McCaffery said he was proud of the way his team responded to the loss at Michigan.
"You always wonder how's your team going to respond in those situations, and for us ... amazing maturity," he said. "They locked into the game plan on Thursday, they had a great practice on Friday, go to the bus, no complaints about travel, go play the next team and follow the game plan."
He said he felt his team followed the game plan in the first half but it didn’t show because of 10 turnovers. In the second half, the Hawkeyes really began creating offense with their defense.
They also thoroughly dominated the boards, grabbing 44 rebounds to just 20 for Northwestern.
Mike Gesell contributed 11 points and six assists and three other Iowa players scored eight points.
The Iowa bench accounted for 32 points after collecting a season-low eight points in Wednesday’s defeat.
“We discussed that with a few of us — me, Jarrod (Uthoff) and (Zach) McCabe," Olaseni said. “We just tried to bring more energy today."
Drew Crawford led Northwestern (10-11, 3-5) with 20 points.
"Obviously Iowa's a tremendous team," Crawford said. “Give them credit, but we didn't play our best, especially in the second half. I think that's a team we're capable of competing with for 40 minutes and tonight we weren't able to do that."
Northwestern coach Chris Collins said Iowa’s superior depth took its toll in the second half.
"I think that's why they won. I really do," Collins said. "Our guys were playing hard … This wasn't like they played harder than us. Both teams played really hard. They're just better than us."