NU 57 - Penn State 52

It should have been an even bigger win, as the <b>Cats </b>picked the <b>Nittany Lions</b>' collective pockets 22 times.<br> <b><br> </b>But ice cold shooting and another double double from <b>Aaron Johnson</b> kept the <b>Penn State</b> in the game -- [Lots of Pictures inside...]

In the Final Analsis
AP-Michael ConroyNorthwestern made 24 from the floor, 5 from the arc as Penn State hit 21 from the floor and 4 from the arc. Sounds like a close game, but NU attempted 67 from the floor [25 from the arc] as PSU attempted 51 [and 17].

The reason the Cats had so many attemptsAP Photo - Darron Cummings was 26 Turnovers and 22 Steals, a Big 10 and Wildcat game record. Jitim Young had 8 to go along with his 14 points and 7 rebounds. Vedran Vukusic [AP Photo - Darron Cummings right led the Cats with 16 points, 7 boards and 6 steals. T.J. Parker [7-AP Photo, Michael Conroy - upper left], Mohamed Hachad [3] and Davor Duvancic [4] also had steals for the Cats..

NU should have put the game away in the first half, but shot a dismal 11-34 [32.4%] from the floor and 1 for 15 [6.7%] from the arc . At the same time, the Lions hit for 50%, 43% from the arc in the first half. The Cats just barely finished the first half up by 2.

AP Photo - Michael CummingsAs you watched, you wondered when the ball was going to go in for the Wildcats. Just about everyone had a ball pop out, and Jitim Young [AP Photo-Darron Cummings left] even had a layup bounce off the bottom of the rim - here Jan Jagla blocked one of his layups. Both teams played to each other's level.

In the end, the Penn State freshman guards ran out of steam, and while Aaron Johnson, scored his 3rd double-double [14pts/13 rebounds], Marlon Smith also had 14 points, and Robert Summers had 10. Jan Jagla was held to 6 points bty Jitim.

After the Game, NU Assistant Paul Lee did the WGN Radio honors -- and WGN's Dave Eanet spoke for the NU Fans - "one 4 letter word comes to mind...Whew.
AP Photo - Darronl CummingsThat was something, I looked at the halftime stats and saw 17 steals.[Like the one by Mohamed Hachad right] I'd never seen anything like that, and unfortunately I had to look a little further down the line and see 1 for 15 on 3s which I'd also never seen before. That kind of balanced everything out, why it was only a two point game at half.
Dave Kaplan - If I had said to you, you were going to get outrebounded 48-29, you're going to be 20% from 3, 50% from the free throw line, you would have said I'm packing up and going home.
There's no way we could possibly win a game like that. This is like the 2nd game in the last 3 we won shooting 36%, so I think its a tribute to the defense the guys are playing, I think there are a lot of jitters out there, but I think our defense kept us in the game early.
AP Photo - Michael ConroyThere were moments in the game when players stepped up and made plays [the ESPN guys said that NU could turn it on and off] -- the Cats never really let PSU back in.
It was good to see Davor [Duvancic- AP Photo right] who also hit a big 3 when we needed it, and I think Jitim [Young] made a really key pass when we needed it on a break, maybe to Davor, that I thought was really nice, so it was a thing where we really struggled, but  like you said, Dave, when we needed some plays guys really stepped up.
OK, what is Coach Carmody like when the team is coming into a time out? Is he emotional when he talks to the team?
I think he tries to calm the guys down.

The very first  media time out at 16:00, he was animated, though, he really thought we were out of our game plan
[he was not happy on the sidelines in the TV shots] .

The first time that we played Penn State, we did the same thing , we took a lot of early shots on the clock, a lot of long shots, and we talked about  that before the game, but we didn't carry through, so that's why he was upset at the 16 minute time out, because that's something we know we can take care of -- something that hurt us previously and we just stepped out and did it again.
 Was this just another one of those typical first round games?
I don't know who coined it, might have been Valvano, but he just said "Survive and advance."

And I think that's what you do in these early round games. I know the 10 seed beat the 7 seed again, and that's like every year the 10 seed beats the 7 seed so , I think there's a little bit of a layoff, and the other thing you have to consider is that the teams know each other so well, OK, you had an extra day to prepare -- 3 days as opposed to 2 -- so everyone knows what each other is doing at this time of the year so that makes it a little bit of a rough game also.
Tell us about Michigan State
We haven't even looked all -- both games we played, the first game at our place, they jumped out shooting great in the first half. That's the main thing that worries you about them is their perimeter shooting.

They're a little different than a traditional Michigan State team that will bang it inside and kill you on the boards. This team, I think their main strength is their perimeter shooting right now, although you always think about Paul Davis inside, but that's the thing we have to concentrate on -- getting out on shooters, pressuring shooters, its still being able to contend with the Big Guy inside.
And the final word?
Its good to advance...
Next up is Michigan State in the late game - 9 PM ET/8 PM Central -


Paul Lee's Post Game comments in italics are taken from
the WGN Post Game Show
with
Dave Eanet & David Kaplan
and may have been edited for clarity

You can send your comments or "back door" information
to Coach Roy

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