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Iowa senior has 25 points, eight rebounds in 21st win.

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IOWA CITY, Ia. – Aaron White was fine, until his head coach came into his path.

Then the water works began.

"We had a few bets going about who would cry," said fellow senior and close friend Gabe Olaseni, White's roommate the past three years. "I think I'm going to eat well tonight."

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Defense a strength down the stretch for Iowa.

White objected following Iowa's 69-52 win over Northwestern, citing a Senior Day technicality.

"That was for the beginning of the game," White said, grinning. "End of game was off limits.

"I would've been fine if I hadn't hugged coach for so long. He's the one that got me."

With 43 seconds left Saturday, White waved to the Carver-Hawkeye Arena fans for the last time and embraced Fran McCaffery — a moment that triggered raw tears from White and symbolized their four-year journey together.

For White, Olaseni and Josh Oglesby — three key seniors who have helped the Iowa program win 83 games the past four years (after it won 49 the previous four) — the day was, to quote White, perfect.

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MARBLE: Iowa career 'some of the best times of my life'

White finished with 25 points and eight rebounds. His top-of-the-key 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining cemented that Iowa would end the regular season on a six-game winning streak.

"There's no higher note I could've gone out on," White said after his fourth consecutive game of 20-plus points. "The pull-up three was my last shot, got the rebound, coach called the timeout. Place was going crazy.

"This will always be one of the best days I've had in my life."

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The Northwestern coach raved about Iowa after losing 69-52 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Iowa finished the regular season 21-10 overall, tied for third at 12-6 in the Big Ten and guaranteed it would be no worse than the No. 5 seed at the conference tournament that begins Wednesday in Chicago.

A Strongsville, Ohio, native whose only Big Ten scholarship offer was from McCaffery, White did it all Saturday — making a strong final case to be named first-team all-Big Ten when those teams are released Monday.

The sellout crowd was hopping from the start on Senior Day, with White — who has scored most of his 1,793 career points on the interior and at the foul line — stepping out to swish two 3-pointers for a 6-0 Hawkeye lead.

He later slammed home six dunks — many on back-door alley-oops that Northwestern failed to defend.

Hawkeye point guard Mike Gesell, who didn't score but tied a career-high with nine assists, noticed on film the back line of Northwestern's 2-3 zone had a tendency to creep up.

"I was making a concerted effort to look for it," Gesell said, "and it was open a lot."

Jarrod Uthoff also had a pair of high-flying dunks on his way to 16 points, and fellow junior Adam Woodbury came off the bench for the first time in his career to score 13.

But this was a day for the seniors, particularly White. By halftime, White had passed Acie Earl (1,779) for second-place on Iowa's all-time scoring list. He also moved into third on the all-time rebounds list with 881, passing Ed Horton (877).

Afterward, White hoped fans would "remember me as one of the all-time greats here."

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The Iowa senior finished his home career with a 25-point outing.

In the pregame ceremony honoring Iowa's seniors, White was joined by his parents, Rick White and Debbie Kuntz, and was given a rousing ovation. But he exhibted laser focus on basketball for the next two hours — until he left the home hardwood for the final time.

"It was a big game. We needed to get to 12-6. We needed to finish out the season strong," White said. "I was ready to play the game. I waited for the emotional stuff until afterward."

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