I’ll have more complete recap on tonight’s 73-59 win over Florida State tomorrow, but I want to highlight a few things right now. First off, NU outrebounded Florida State 41-33. That’s spectacular as anybody who saw the Seminoles up close would agree they definitely pass the eyeball test. Kevin Coble and Jeff Ryan led the ‘Cats with 8 rebounds each. Even more impressive, they each had three offensive rebounds. I have to give special note to Ryan who played perhaps his most aggressive game as a Wildcat. He always has seemed to me to be a guy who had loads of ability, but who didn’t seem to have an aggressive bone in his body. Tonight, Jeff was so aggressive he even managed to get himself bloody from diving into a pile to fight for the ball. If Ryan continues to play with the attitude he showed tonight I expect a very good season.
Another player who looked great tonight was Ivan Peljusic. Peljusic scored a total of 10 points, but his personal 8-2 run put the Wildcats ahead to stay in the game. I’ve been a fan of Peljusic for awhile now and I really believe the ‘Cats look better with him in the game. The offense seems to move quicker as Peljusic seems to understand the system a bit better than the freshmen and his intensity seems to help key the defense.
Shooting was also key to the ‘Cat victory as they shot 9-of-17 from three point range. Unfortunately, they shot only 18-of-31 from the free throw line and that almost cost them the game. It always amazes me how basketball players can’t hit free throws. Even good shooters sometimes throw up bricks at the line. Kevin Coble for example should never miss two straight free throws. Thankfully, NU’s free throw woes didn’t hurt them tonight, but if I were Carmody I’d spend some time working the free throw line at practice. Thankfully, the ‘Cats 52.9% three point shooting was far better than FSU’s 26.1%. Craig Moore led the ‘Cats shooting 4-of-6 from behind the arc. Also of note was Jeremy Nash hitting a big three right when it looked like FSU might take control of the game. I really think Nash’s shot is looking better.
Finally, let me say the students showed up tonight and made noise. It was great. I hope all those who came to their first game of the season tonight had a great time and come back Saturday at 2:30 to see NU battle DePaul.