We've been here before...
NU players not being able to shoot from the charity stripe.
But at one point during the 2nd half, the Cats actually had a better average shooting from beyond the arc, than from the charity stripe. Most of the misses were from Mike Thompson [4 of 11] and T.J. Parker [3 of 6] with Vedran continuing his run [he made his 2]. The Cats finished 10 of 22 [45%] with Thompson and Parker finally hitting a couple of freebies late.
Before the game, NU coach Bill Carmody was hoping that the NU defense would continue to improve, and that the Cats would eventually have an "offensive explosion."
Not sure if today's game counts as an explosion, but 3 players scored double figures Saturday afternoon.
Leading in scoring again was junior forward Vedran Vukusic with 14 points and 7 rebounds. He also had 3 steals to go with 2 blocks and assists. Point Guard T.J. Parker finished with 13 points and 4 assists. Center Mike Thompson hit 4 of 10 Field Goals and 4 [of 11] FTs to finish with 12. He also recorded 9 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 assists
Mohamed Hachad scored 7, while recording 4 assists and 2 steals. Davor Duvancic came off the bench and scored 7 - he also had 6 rebounds, a steal and an assist on an air ball that Vukusic slammed home for 2. Tim Doyle continued his streak of not scoring, but he pulled down 5 rebounds in the game.
The Cats again demonstrated defense - Seton Hall only shot 29% [18 of 63] on the game, their top scorer, center Kelly Whitney, was held to just 6 points. 4 Pirates scored 8, including West Aurora's Justin Cerasoli, who also pulled down 7 rebounds.
However, Seton Hall did start off with an 8 point run after 2 - 3 pointers, and a layup, and eventually led 10-2 before the Cats started playing well. The Pirates also closed the gap about half way throught the 2nd half before NU was finally able to put the game away.
After the game, NU Coach Bill Carmody was asked about the up and down play from the Wildcats...BC: It wasn't, both games, the DePaul game and the Seton Hall game sort of described as ugly, but I just thought that our defense was pretty good - pretty sound through most of the night, even though they jumped out on us. You know, knocked down a couple of 3-s.That was really a key too, your defense on Whitney inside - and Thompson had another strong game for you defensively.
We tried to keep the ball out of the inside as much as we could and we did a good job.BC: Well Michael, he was matched up with him [Whitney] most of the time and I thought he did a nice job and he did get it in there - got his hand out and blocked a few shots - actually the kid blocked a few of Mike's too, so it was tough going inside the lane, then I thought Vedran came through with some big stuff - he hit that big 3 when we were struggling just decided to shoot it - that wasn't in the offense, just decided that.Dave Eanet thought a key moment was at the end of the half - the Cats had the ball with about 30 seconds to go - T.J. Parker got an open look for 3 and he knocked it down...
But that's what a guy like that should do, 'cause he's getting here, be your sort of go to guy, and I thought he played real well towards the end.BC: That was important because we weren't playing well, sort of right at the last 3 minutes, and I told T.J., we had 20 seconds left in the first half against DePaul and we didn't get a shot out of it, he turned the ball over at the buzzer and I told him, "Make sure its the last shot."Shon Morris asked about Davor Duvancic assuming a different role for the Wildcats...
It actually wasn't - he shot a little too soon, but I thought they executed it pretty nicely. It always looks good when it goes in the basket, that happens to be the way that works.BC: Davor has been playing 35 minutes and now that's been cut down, but Mike's not certain in stuff we're doing on offense, and its just new to him and, you know, a lot of varied things.The stretch of games from DePaul and Seton Hall, then ASU, looked like the toughest stretch of the preseason, winning the first couple of games has to help.
So Davor just came in, I thought he gave us a pretty good defense and he was just a stabilizing thing, and he banged that 3 in the corner, he's been struggling, it didn't seem to give him any confidence though - he threw up an air ball later on >/i>[that Vedran slammed home], but he helped us.BC: It helps because we haven't been playing very well, and to win against decent competition, I mean we should win - we should win, we're a veteran team and we're at home.So the Cats are off to Tempe, Arizona, to take on the Sun Devils, a game that you could consider would carry a little revenge factor after Football's loss earlier in the Fall.
DePaul just came out of exams, and that's rough.
We should win games at home. We should not lose. Lost to Virginia here this year, in a game we did not play well, and I'm just hopeful now that we'll continue to - I mean I thought our defense was especially excellent tonight, but rebounding's part of that and we can improve on that, I know.
But I was real happy for the guys.
Purple Reign will have the Pregame Intel report on another pack of Devils later this weekend.
A win is a win, and the Cats are 2-0 since Mike Thompson become eligible. Don't you love watching Northwestern play with a true center?
Beat 'em All!
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It was also the Chicago College debut of West Aurora's Justin Cerasoli. NU's T.J. Parker provided the welcome...
Now if the Cats can just start to make Free Throws!