but the Big 10 season from the "nether world" is still over with just another loss as the Wildcats lost to the MSU Spartans 62-57.
For a while, it looked like NU was going to lose big. At one point in the first half, the cold shooting Cats were almost down 20 as MSU's big men rejected shot after shot inside, or made the Cats' miss layups under the basket.
But after shooting "lights out" for most of the first half, the Spartans couldn't stop the Wildcats from coming back midway through the first half, mainly on the backs of some great 3 point shooting by Craig Moore [5 of 9] and Kevin Coble [3 of 4]. The Cats also challenged for rebounds, playing MSU even on the offensive end [6-6]. It seemed like Coble  rebounds], Tim Doyle and Ivan Tolic [3 each] were usually in the right place - Tolic even had 2 offensive rebounds as his team scored several put-back points.
Moore's [right] performance was even better considering he had MSU's "bomber" Drew Neitzel on him much of the game.
Several of Moore's 2nd half long shots were over MSU players as they brought their "A" defense to bear against the Wildcats, a defense that held NU well below 30% shooting in the first half..
NU battled back, improving their shooting percentage in the 2nd half and closing the gap to 60-57 on the Spartans. In the final seconds it took an errant pass by Jeremy Nash [left] intended for Moore to finally stop the Cats. The TV commentators said that Moore slipped on the sidelines but in any case, he wasn't looking and the ball sailed into the seats. Nash had just denied Neitzel's shot intended to put the game away for MSU.
Coble and Moore led the Cats in scoring with 15 each, Vince Scott added 11 on 3 of 6 three point shooting, and Tim Doyle ended his NU career with 9, making 5 of 8 free throws and 2 of 7 from the floor. Doyle also had 6 assists and 2 steals. The Cats did pull their FG shooting up to 43.2% and their 3 point shooting percentage up to 45.8 in the second half.
Drew Neitzel scored 20 for the Spartans, on 5 of 7 from the arc. He also had 6 assists.. Ramar Morgan hit for 15 on 6 of 10 shooting from the field. Goran Suton hit for 7 on 3 of 4 from the field, but added 10 rebounds and 5 assists to go with 2 blocks.
After the game, Bill Carmody had a rushed interview with the WGN crew. Dave Eanet commented on the "great effort" by the Cats, but a first asked "what do you say to Jeremy Nash?"
Bill Carmody: I don't know what I'm going to say to him, I mean he did great, kept the ball away from Neitzel , then he boxed out really well down there, got the rebound.The Cats played a different game against MSU this time - there was more boxing out on the defensive end but in the end it was 11 treys that kept them in the game....
Its probably my fault because I didn't tell him at the time out, if you get it to call a time out because I don't always do that , because most times I like to run it up the court, but in this case I knew I wanted to get Timmy back in there so I probably should have told him, but
It was fine, it was a good effort, the guys hung in there, I was happy with our play all - except maybe in that 7 minutes in the first half.
BC: I told them half time, I put the number 8 on the board, f you don't make 8 threes in the second half you can't win - I don't know how many we made, but that's where I thought -Carmody was asked if he had changed his defense around to play MSU, Dave Kaplan noted that the Spartans seemed to "struggle" with NU half court set...
They're sagging in there a lot, they're giving you shots, you're getting your shots, you gotta make them. If you make them, you're going to be right in this game.
Like I said, I don't know how many they made, but Craig knocked some down , Kevin helped bring us back , you just wish you had a chance at that last play.
BC: Not too much.The loss ends the Wildcat's season at 13-18, somewhat disappointing since the Cats had a tremendous 11-3 non-conference record.
The first time we watched the films pretty closely, we saw them penetrate in there and throwing out and you just have to know where Neitzel is, which we didn't do in the first half.
In the second half we tried to do it, but he's a heck of player and its a good team, you know they haven't played on too many Thursdays - I don't know -
They didn't play with their same "zest" that I normally see them play, on the backboards especially.
The brightest spot in the season was the arrival of Kevin Coble, followed by Tim Doyle's career assist point forward play. The downer was Craig Moore's sophomore slump after his tremendous performance against Miami.
-- are based on questions from Dave Eanet or David Kaplan and may have been edited for clarity.
Official Game Statistics from NU Sports Official Site
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