Iowa CITY, Iowa - It was no Fran McCaffery, no problem for the Iowa Thursday night here at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes rolled to a 93-67 win against Northwestern with their head coach serving a one-game suspension. The Big Ten sidelined McCaffery after he was thrown out of Sunday's game at Wisconsin for arguing with officials.
Aaron White (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Melsahn Basabe (16, 10) recorded double-doubles for No. 20 Iowa (13-3 overall, 2-1 B1G). The latter reached a milestone Thursday eclipsing the 1,000-point mark for his career. He finished the night with 1,009.
"It's special because Coach McCaffery changed my life by letting me come to a Big Ten school just to have my name somewhere for my children to see," Basabe said. "It's just nice to be part of such a great tradition at such a great school."
The Wildcats (7-9, 0-3) struggled to contain Iowa's running game. The Hawkeyes enjoyed a 17-2 advantage in fast-break points.
"That little bit of contesting a shot or the little things like getting in the passing lane, that little but of disruption throws off your game a little bit and they're very good at turning those plays into transition," first-year Northwestern Coach Chris Collins said. "There as good as it gets in our conference at pushing the ball and scoring the ball in transition."
Kirk Speraw, the long-time head coach at Central Florida before coming to Iowa as a McCaffery assistant, ran the show. He spoke modestly about his position Thursday night.
"I just try to fill in how I need to fill in," Speraw said. "That was a big part of me coming up here with Fran and I appreciate the opportunity. It certainly wasn't me out there tonight. It was the players and the entire coaching staff."
Iowa raced out to a 10-0 lead to start the game before the visitors got it down to 15-10. The Hawkeyes pushed it back to a 15-point lead by the intermission, holding Northwestern without an assist. Five minutes into the second half, the home team pushed its lead to 20 and never looked back as it once was up by 31.
Roy Devyn Marble added 15 points for the winners. The senior also dished out six assists without a turnovers.
Marble was 3 of 3 from three-point land, where Iowa shot 8 of 14 as a team. Overall, the Hawkeyes hit a blistering 56.9 percent (29-51) from the floor. They had 22 assists.
"It's an exceptional group because they get along so well," Speraw said. "They are so unselfish and they can all play. It is a great advantage that you can turn to the bench and rotate people in and there's really not much of a drop-off."
Eleven different Hawkeyes scored Thursday night with eight players netting at least five.
"I thought we were fighting early in the game," Collins said. "We forced them into some turnovers. Their athleticism and depth wore us down as the game went on."
Iowa heads to No. 3 Ohio State on Sunday. McCaffery returns to the bench.
"Everybody respects Coach Speraw," Marble said. "He knows how to get us going and get the best out of us. We just played the way that we know we're supposed to.
"I don't think it was as much of a miss of Coach McCaffery tonight but we're definitely going to need him on Sunday. He's our leader."