By Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune reporter
5:13 PM AKST, January 13, 2013
The crowd at Welsh-Ryan Arena stretched to the top row, but the behind-the-basket student sections were less than half full.
The temptation was to criticize the students who stayed on campus Sunday afternoon to watch NFL playoff games or take part in fraternity/sorority rush. But as it turned out, they were the smart ones.
That's how bad NU's performance was in a 70-50 drubbing by Iowa.
The Wildcats shot just 15-for-51, 5-for-26 from deep. And a team that often thrives on back-door layups assisted on just two first-half baskets, nine for the game.
"We're doing too much dribbling," coach Bill Carmody said. "We have to pass and cut and share the ball."
Said senior guard Alex Marcotullio: "We have to go back to the drawing board and make some adjustments."
NU's defense might have been even worse. The Wildcats allowed at least seven dunks while falling to 10-7, 1-3 in the Big Ten.
It should be said that although Northwestern is playing without the suspended JerShon Cobb and injured Drew Crawford, there's no guarantee that Carmody will be return for a 14th season. University higher-ups do not simply view this as a take-our-lumps development season.
Carmody said the Wildcats need better play from their veterans, and that's certainly true. Marcotullio, Dave Sobolewski, Jared Swopshire and Reggie Hearn shot a combined 8-for-28.
At one point Sobolewski barked at Marcotullio for passing up an open 3-pointer. The lefty did drain one after that but is just 3-for-18 in NU's last four games.
"I don't think I got gun shy on that play," Marcotullio said. "I was just looking to make extra pass. But I probably should have shot it."
A memorable moment came when Marcotullio lost his shoe while playing defense. Iowa's Aaron White grabbed it and fired it to the side, nearly beaning Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery.
"It went right by my chin," he said.
Asked jokingly whether White aimed it at him, McCaffery replied: "No, he's OK with me, I think."
Iowa improved to 12-5, 1-3, thanks to strong play by White (17 points) and four 3-pointers by Josh Oglesby. The Hawkeyes had lost five straight to Northwestern.
"This is one of those defenses — the more you see, the easier it is to attack," McCaffery said.
NU freshman Kale Abrahamson, a West Des Moines native offered a scholarship by Iowa, scored just three points on 1-for-3 shooting.
"I'm not scared to shoot or anything like that," he said, "but you can't just jack up shots. The moment wasn't there."
•Northwestern and WGN-AM 720 announced a three-year extension on their broadcast rights agreement. The relationship, which began in 1996, will continue through the 2015-16 season.