and the Shootout complied, sending the Utah Utes, with 2 7 footers out on the court to face the Cats.
Utah had rolled over Virginia Wednesday, and as the game began, NU fans were a little worried about how the Cats would handle a team that put up 94 points on an ACC team, Virginia just 24 hours earlier.
The primary concern were Utah's leading scorers - Luke Nevill and Johniie Bryant had both scored 26. Nevill also had 11 rebounds in a game where they shot 62+ from the field.
So how did the Cats do it? According to Assistant basketball coach Paul Lee:
We worked hard last night just - we didn't want to double team him because Virginia got hurt with their double team - we just kinda wanted to double him before he'd actually catch the ball.Then there was Northwestern's shooting - 29 of 42 [69%] from the floor, 8 of 11 from the foul line, and 11 of 13 [that's 84%] from three. Compare that to Utah's 18 of 44, and 6 of 21 from the arc. At one point during the 2nd half, Utah couldn't buy a basket, as NU just kept pouring them in.
Just make it look real crowded so they wouldn't even throw it to him then we didn't want to send help until he put the ball on the floor. For the most part I think we held to that.
Lee: You know its pretty rewarding - we've been struggling coming into this game - we talked about playing with a lot more energy - playing a lot more aggressive, and I think with these guys, they were running around on defense , I think that helped them on offense as well.Frosh Forward Kevin Coble again led the Cats in scoring with 22 points - 8 of 11 field goals and 5 of 6 from 3. He also made his only foul shot. Tim Doyle returned to his old form, shooting 7 of 8 from the floor and 4 of 6 from the foul line for 18 points.
We were just flying around out there and got one open shot after another.
Lee: Timmy was a different guy out there today. He's been playing so passively the last couple of games, he was so agressive . I told him, you're one of the best guys out there - play like it.Craig Moore seemed to find his 3 point range again, sinking 3 of 4 - he finished the game in double figures with 11, but the biggest "surprise" was the play of center Vince Scott.
He was agressive to the basket, he drew a couple of fouls and made the shots - those things have been falling out on him - he's been playing a little bit of bad luck the last couple of games and today those shots he's been missing fell down for him.
After a bit of a rocky start, with two quick fouls, Ivan Tolic had to come in, but Scott came alive in the 2nd half - hitting 3 of 3 from the top of the key [3 pointers] and another 2 from inside to finish with 13 points - his high of the year. Another first, soph Patrick Houlihan made his first NU basket at the end of the game.
Shaun Green led the Utes with 14 points, Luke Nevill was held to just 9 points and sat out much of the game.
NU also won the rebounding battle - 22 to 20 against a couple of 7 footers, plus the NU-Princeton offense really seemed to click this afternoon.
Lee: that's what we've been telling our guys and that's what we told them before the game. The key to this game for us was our executionSo now its a night to relax and as the coach said, enjoy themselves.
Beyond everything else, we're going to guard them, we're going to fight hard, but can we execute what we want to do and I think today, I tell you what, these guys listened, they stayed with it, they shared the ball - it was beautiful to watch out there.
Next game is with another team in the mold of Wheaton College, Loyola of Maryland.
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