It was a night where the Cats couldn't Buy a 3 pointer...
Until walkon guard Joe Kennedy hit from the arc in the final minutes, the Cats had missed 16 treys. Meanwhile, the Illini were making over 60% of their attempts from outside.
NU did have a few things go right: the Cats had 6 Steals, including 2 by Vedran Vukusic, but a lousy assist to turnover ratio [12:13] made it tough to stick with the nations #1 team.
Mohamed Hachad continued his decent play - he had a team high 15 points, a steal and 8 rebounds, but missed 5 three pointers. Vukusic scored 14 as the only other Wildcat in double figures.
All and all, the Illini forced NU out of its matchup zone and shot long treys. The Cats couldn't keep up.
After the game, a somewhat deflated Bill Carmody talked with Dave and Bob - he had thought the Cats could play with the Illini, but it didn't happen - how much was NU? and how much Illinois...
BC: Well certainly, a lot of it was Illinois,
they just made every shot, they just came out on fire and some of the
shots they hit were, you know, 4 or 5 ... but we feel we didn't play
well, all the way thru,
And the early big lead forced the Cats out of the zone into a game where they had to chase them way outside the arc.
We're playing 7 guys, maybe 6 1/2 guys and you can see it; Vedran's
missing layups, didn't really have any answer, and I said before the
game, we're going to have a hard time guarding these guys.
That was it. We just could not stop them from scoring.
BC: Yeah, we had to come out of the zone and man to man we just can't keep our bodies in front of those guys, and then...
And the Cats normally will make 3s right along with another team, but not tonight - even Vedran Vukusic wasn't playing well
I don't know, it seemed like each guy was hitting 3s.; Brown and Williams and Head and just continuous thru their bench.
BC: I wanted to post him, as I told you
beforehand, I liked the matchup with the guard, I liked it so it was
either Head or Deron Williams I thought we could post and we did in the
beginning - we got some layups but we weren't stopping them and even
later when they put Powell on him, he was getting the ball down there
and missing chippies, and the game was out of hand by then, but still,
he's got to make those.
Bob pointed out that while Vedran's inside game was working, the Illinois perimeter defense didn't allow the Cats much room to shoot.
BC: Yeah, we didn't get the movement that we
needed - every pass you had to be careful of and when that's true
because they might steal it, its very stilted and you're not moving as
well as you should so you have to give them credit for that. All their
guys out on defending it.
Mohamed Hachad's play has to be one bright spot. He's finally stepping up and starting to take some of the scoring load off Vukusic.
BC: You're right, we've been looking for
it all year and again, we're down a lot, but right towards the end of
the first half, he came down and he made a nice play and then he
hustled back and I think he stole the ball from Brown right in front of
the bench here and then he continued his good play in the 2nd half.
Next you're at home and you have to feel that the team will perform better against Michigan on Saturday.
He still didn't knock down his shots though. When he takes it to the
rim, he's making 3 out of 4, 4 out of 5 but he wasn't able to make a
The only shot 3 we make was a walk-on Joe Kennedy with a minute to go so that tells us something right there.
BC: We bring out the best in 3 point
shooters it seems all year we have and Michigan has been
struggling - they're winning tonight, but we've never had much success.
They've lost several guys, but they're still a very long and very
talented team so we're clearly going to have to play better than we did
Carmody's Post Game comments [in italics] are taken from
the WGN Post
with Dave Eanet
& Bob Hildebrand
and may have
been edited for clarity
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