After Northwestern’s deflating loss against No. 7 Baylor, Wildcat players wished to get back on the basketball court the following day. Instead, they were in the classroom taking final exams.
While the NU coaching staff racked up the frequent flyer miles on recruiting trips. Meanwhile, the players were focused on studying, while lacing up the shoes whenever scarce free time was available.
11 days past the Baylor loss, the Wildcats are raring to get back in the win column.
“We’re all eager to get back, especially with the tough finish the last game,” said NU junior forward Drew Crawford. “We’re really eager to win some games.”
The many mistakes from the Baylor defeat remain fresh on the Wildcats’ minds. The team reviewed game film on Monday, before moving on to game plan for the next game.
NU senior forward John Shurna hopes the team can use the Baylor game as a positive going forward,
“I think it’s motivation to continue to do well,” said Shurna. “Baylor is a good team and that’s who we want to play against—the top competition. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well for us, but we have a lot to work on, and we want to play these good teams.”
Despite the demoralizing defeat, the previously-unbeaten Wildcats suffered no loss in confidence, and are ready to rebound.
“There is no faith lost at all,” Crawford said. “We’re still confident in our abilities, and we know we’re a great team.”
With the Bears now in the rear-view mirror, Northwestern now turns its attention to Thursday’s game against Texas Southern. Shurna is hoping the Wildcats can regroup with a win.
“We’re just focused on the next one at this point,” said Shurna. “Everyone was excited for the game but it didn’t go our way. We’ve got to learn from that one and focus on the next one.”
Following the long layoff, the Wildcats prepare to play three games in a four-day span, beginning with the matchup against Texas Southern on Thursday, followed by a Saturday set against Central Connecticut, then a game with Eastern Illinois on Sunday.
Northwestern’s depth will be challenged during the strenuous stretch. Tre Demps is out for the season after having shoulder surgery. Meanwhile, Jershon Cobb and Alex Marcotullio are each likely to be limited from their usual load of minutes. Bill Carmody will be forced to rely on extended minutes for David Sobolewski and Reggie Hearn.
Carmody views the three-game stretch as a tournament-like test, due to the short layover between games. He hopes his Wildcats will rise to the challenge.
“We have to be ready for it,” said Carmody. “You have to be ready. It’s like tournament time. It’s good for us.”