Heartbreak in the Afternoon

Heartbreak in the Afternoon

It was <b>Jitim Young</b>'s last home game, and the <b>Wildcats</b> last chance at a .500 season record. <p>But the baskets just didn't fall, and when it was over, <b>Northwestern</b> was out muscled by <b>Michigan</b>. Here's how <b>Michael Jackson</b> saw it...

It seemed the baskets had lids on them when NU shot.
The Wildcats shot only 35% from two-point land and only 22% from behind the arc.  On the other hand, the Wolverines shot 50% from two-point land and a whopping 60% from three-point land.

The Cats' aggressiveness and hustle kept them in the game but they couldn't convert on offense.  They had 11 steals and caused 21 turnovers.  It seemed like every time they created on defense, they missed the shot on the offensive end.

Early in the game, NU was the aggressor.  Jitim Young scored the first seven points.  He was very pumped in his last regular season game at Welsh Ryan but unless the Wildcats are able to win two games in the Big Ten Tournament, this loss will be Jitim's last home game.  It they win two, they might still make the NIT.  But they will have to shoot better than they did today.

Michigan's size was too much for NU.  U of M outrebounded NU by a 37 to 23 margin.  Many of those rebounds led to easy second chance layups. Failure to block out cost the Cats the game.  Their defense frustrated the Wolverines offense.  Michigan forced numerous bad shots as the shot clock was running down but was able to score easy second-chance baskets.

NU led for the first eight minutes of the game.  They looked like they were going to run away with the game.  But once Michigan took the lead with nine minutes left in the first half, they never gave it up.  The Cats were able to claw back to only two down many times.  Each time the fans would get charged up.  The student section would jump up and down and the arena would rock.

The Cats would cause a turnover and have a chance to tie it or take the lead but each time, the Cats would miss the shot. Finally, Michigan took a seven point lead with a few minutes in the game and the Cats couldn't claw back.

It was a great season.  The Cats showed much improvement as the season progressed.

Mohamed Hachad wins my award as the most-improved player. Early in the season, he was out of control for parts of the game.  At the end of the season, he was the leader on defense and he was much improved on the offensive end.  He was able to penetrate and showed very god skills dribbling.

T.J. Parker needs to be more aggressive.  He would disappear at times in games. The last few games, he showed the spark and fire he needs to maintain all the time.

Vedran Vukusic seemed to lose his confidence in his shot the last few games. When he is able to set his feet, he shoots well. He is probably the Wildcat's best passer.

Davor Duvancic needs to add a few pounds to his frame.  He has a hard time guarding big men.

Vince Scott should be much improved next year.  He will also have to add weight.

The addition of the transfers from St. Johns [Tim Doyle] and Duke [Michael Thompson] should take the team to the next level.  Hopefully, they should benefit from a year of practice with the Princeton offense.

Maybe next year the Wildcats will be able to coast through the non-conference games and be a legitimate contender for the Big Ten title. They will
have depth, size and talent. Buy your tickets early.

Michael Jackson is a Wildcat Fan!
who can be found cheering for his team from under the basket.

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to Coach Roy
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Beat 'em All!
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Copyright 2004 by PurpleWildcats.com/Purple Reign

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