because it froze tonight with the Cats up 41-34. It didn't do any good, Mohamed Hachad still poured in a career high 25 points, Vedran Vukusic hit for 13 more, and the Cats out rebounded the Badgers 32-31 as Northwestern never trailed in the 2nd half and beat Wisconsin 62-51.
The Cats finally finished a game where they'd played close, a point not lost on NU Head Coach Bill Carmody;Yeah, I'm really proud of the guys, they played hard, we said before the game, you just have to - its just rebounds. Its a big strong team and you have to match their physical play out there and I thought our guys did that tonight.Despite three fouls, it was a good night for Mohamed Hachad, who finished 11 of 17, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. The Badgers tried to shut down Vedran Vukusic, and Hachad benefitted with open drives through the lane and even a 3 pointer early.The last few games he's been playing extremely well, and like I said on national TV [the game was on ESPN2], he used to do one good thing and one crazy thing, and now lately its been 2 good things and one crazy thing and 3 to one so, he was terrific out there tonight.Vedran Vukusic was 5 of 11 including a 3 pointer that tied Todd Leslie's 203 three point shooting mark from the 1990's.
I was really happy for him.
Vukusic started out fast but only scored 2 in the 2nd half and he finished with 5 rebounds as he battled for position all night - one observer noted that he was bumped every time in the lane, almost like a hockey game.We've been saying this all along, you have to have some kind of balance and guys - it can't be a one man show or a two man show occasionally.Craig Moore also finished with 7 points including a 3 pointer from NBA range. Tim Doyle scored 6 wiht 6 rebounds and a steal. Bernard Cote` [right] added 4. Sterling Williams added 3 points on free throws down the stretch, and Michael Jenkins hit both his free throws at the end of the game and added 4 assists, a steal and 6 rebounds.
You're right, Vedran hit a few shots - he wasn't feeling that well today - got a little indigestion or something . He got us going and Mohamed just took over.
I thought Jenkins was good out there too. I thought in the first half he was very good. I thought he was good all around.What really stood out Thursday was the NU 1-3-1 defense, with Hachad and Jenkins getting into plays, and keeping the Badgers off balance, Wisconsin shot only 38.8% from the field and 28.6% from the arc.You know we have some "long guys" - tall guys who are long - and every coach would like to play man-to-man all the time, its simpler, you know who messed up.Wisconsin had an almost 9 minute dry spell in the 2nd half [5:40 without a point and 8:40 without a basket] before Alando Tucker hit a jumper. Tucker finished with 14 points to lead the Badgers. After the drought, they never got within 5 points for the rest of the game.
We don't keep our bodies in front of us - its the best defense for this team I think and we've done well with it.
And the Cats matched whatever points the Badgers scored
We made our foul shots there, Timmy [Tim Doyle-right] thought he was playing down in the park, just throw it to anybody, any color uniform there for a little bit but he made his foul shots, Jenks made his foul shots and we go away with the win.Now its off the State College with only a 2 day break, and the very dangerous Penn State Nittany Lions, but NU is coming off a win, a very good win....Usually you don't do much the day after a game, I let the guys who don't play, play a lot, so tomorrow we'll go over Penn State's scouting - I mean its the second time around, we know them and they know us so there's really not that much to do, just get them focused and have them forget this now.It was a game that Wisconsin really wanted, and the loss puts them a game behind the Big 10 leaders in the Loss column with just 3 conference games to play.
So, Next is Penn State, another game the Northwestern Wildcats would love to put in the "pay back win" column.
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