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COMMENTARY: No win, but no quit either (premium)

Posted on 17. Feb, 2011 by in Iowa Basketball


By Brendan Stiles

EVANSTON, Ill. — I have to say, as I’ve covered the Iowa Hawkeyes this season, there is one trait about this team that I like. It’s that more often than not, it doesn’t quit.

But not quitting in games doesn’t always translate in victories, and this was once again the case on Thursday as Iowa fell to Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena, 73-70.

Look, there’s no excuse to be made for Iowa being in this position, and this team is one that won’t make those sorts of excuses. And as evident by McCaffery burning a timeout just a little over two minutes into the game and having all five reserve players who see minutes on the court at once during the first half, falling behind like it did to Northwestern makes it all the more challenging for the Hawkeyes to win games, especially on the road.

This team could have folded like a tent. When Northwestern was ahead 22-9 and all five starters at one point are sitting on the bench, this game looked to be a lost cause.

Iowa didn’t fold however, and to be honest, it hasn’t really throughout the majority of this season. That doesn’t mean the Hawkeyes haven’t had any stinkers (its previous game against Minnesota last weekend would qualify as one), but the resiliency they have displayed at times this season has to at least be somewhat encouraging to fans.

To me, it’s a sign that the coaching staff understands the player personnel currently at its disposal and knows what buttons to press. And while some of them had off nights on Thursday, what will probably be forgotten is that there were five Hawkeyes who scored double figures in points. Think about that for a second. Five players in double figures.

Normally when five guys are clicking in one game, that team finds a way to win. Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, this wasn’t the case against Northwestern.

The Wildcats always seemed to have an answer, and to their credit, they shot the ball well when they needed to. Aside from a few moments late in the first half and early in the second half, Northwestern played this game with the lead.

And while neither team has looked all that impressive this season, this was still a game that showed resolve. There was a point in the second half when it felt like the Wildcats would start to run away with the contest, yet the Hawkeyes continued to keep it close.

Again, this isn’t something fans ought to be satisfied with, because clearly the Hawkeyes aren’t satisfied with losing. They aren’t satisfied with claiming any sort of moral victories, and they know how good of a chance they had late to send this game to overtime and perhaps seize momentum away from Northwestern.

The players talked about how this is a game they need to quickly forget, and with a game against Michigan set to take place in less than 48 hours from Carver-Hawkeye Arena, that’s certainly true. But when those who follow the program close enough get a chance to reflect back on this season, this is probably a game that will stand out.

This game was one that basically summarized the Hawkeyes’ season up to this point — the wins are few and far between, but the fight is still there.


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