IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa's Gabriel Olaseni inspired his teammates just by playing.
Olaseni had 10 points, five rebounds and four blocks in 20 minutes after learning that his father died earlier Wednesday. The Hawkeyes rallied around him in an emotional 70-49 win over Northern Illinois.
"He didn't hesitate," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said of Olaseni's decision to play. "One of the last things his father said was that he's so proud of Gabe, and he wants him to maximize this opportunity his senior year."
Aaron White and Anthony Clemmons each scored 14 points to lead the Hawkeyes (4-2). Adam Woodbury added 12 points and six rebounds.
Aaric Armstead scored 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting to lead Northern Illinois (2-1). Jordan Threloff added nine points and 11 rebounds.
McCaffery announced after the game that Olaseni's father, Benson, died unexpectedly in England after being sick for a short period of time.
Gabriel Olaseni spoke with his family and Iowa's coaching staff via Skype in McCaffery's office before the game. Olaseni's mother, Yvette, encouraged him to play. His father didn't want to do anything that would impact his season.
Olaseni had a chance to play in front of his parents in the summer of 2013 when Iowa played a pair of exhibition games in London.
White said the team was proud of how Olaseni played.
"He's like a brother to us, especially to me," White said. "It hit me hard, but the best thing I can do is just be there for him and love him like a brother."
Iowa scored 22 points off 17 turnovers, blocked 12 shots — one shy of tying the school record – and held the Huskies to only 27.9 percent shooting.
The Hawkeyes used a 16-0 run during a six-minute stretch early in the first half to pull away from Northern Illinois. The Huskies never got closer than 10 points in the second half.
Clemmons tied his career high in points with an efficient 3-of-6 shooting from the floor, including two 3-pointers, and hitting 6 of 7 free throws.
Josh Oglesby added a season-best nine points for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa starters Jarrod Uthoff and Mike Gesell combined to shoot 0 of 10 from the field. The pair had been averaging 20.2 points per game. Uthoff made an impact elsewhere, tallying six rebounds and career highs with five blocks and four assists.
The Hawkeyes had 16 assists on 25 field goals.
Northern Illinois' Travon Baker missed all 11 of his shot attempts after scoring 14 points in the Huskies' last game against Idaho.
Iowa: Freshman Brady Ellingson scored one point in 3 minutes in his season debut. Ellingson, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, is coming off foot surgery. McCaffery said they would shut him down and redshirt him if he's not able to play.
Northern Illinois: The Huskies haven't won against a Big Ten team since 1999. Northern Illinois is now 7-46 all-time against the conference, including 12-straight losses.
Iowa hosts Longwood on Saturday.
Northern Illinois hosts Maine on Sunday.