Saturday, January 31, 2009

Craig Moore Ices Win for 'Cats 66-63

John Shurna got NU started with 2 early threes

Led by Craig Moore’s 26 points, and especially his six straight free throws in the last sixteen seconds, Northwestern edged Wisconsin 66-63 Saturday night in Evanston. Moore’s six free throws were huge because it was missed free throws which kept Wisconsin in the game early. A lot of those missed free throws fell on Kyle Rowley. However, Rowley did mange to get Badgers star Marcus Landry into foul trouble. That helped the Wildcats immensely. If Rowley makes his foul shots, which he has the ability to do, I still believe he can dominate some of the smaller centers in the Big Ten.

Another Wildcat freshman who stepped up was John Shurna. His ability knock down two early threes set an early tone of competiveness for NU. If Shurna regains his shooting stroke, he will provide NU another serious offensive threat. Speaking of offensive threats, Jeremy Nash played another solid all around game and ended up NU’s second leading scorer with 9 points. He hit 1-of-2 threes and made an unbelievable circus layup late in the game to help sustain the Wildcat lead. Nash’s play was critical as Wisconsin played lockdown defense on Kevin Coble holding him to only 7 points on 3-of-9 shooting. Luka Mirkovic also added seven and a late hook shot which, like Nash’s layup, was critical to holding the lead. Mirkovic also grabbed three rebounds which, for better or worse, made him NU’s leader.

Overall, Wisconsin had a 27-16 rebound edge, but Northwestern won the turnover battle by forcing 13 compared to only 8 forced by Wisconsin. 13 TO’s aren’t a ton, but NU’s defense was solid. The Wildcats employed not only their 1-3-1, but also a matchup zone and a fantastic switching man-to-man. It was evident these switching defenses caused Wisconsin trouble in the second half.

Another area which I firmly believed caused Wisconsin trouble was the boisterous Northwestern student section. They played a strong role in helping out shout the invaders from the north and making Welsh-Ryan more of a home court for NU. Now, we need to convince the students to show up every game—this team needs them. Wednesday against Chicago State is a great example. Just because it’s not a well known team, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about how YOUR team plays.

Let me conclude, by saying the true unsung hero tonight for NU was point guard Michael “Juice” Thompson. In 39 minutes, Thompson finished with 7 points, 7 assists, and only 1 turnover. He also played excellent defense when he was on the bottom of the 1-3-1, and fought like crazy when he was forced to defend players more than a foot taller.


John said...

Juice played like a good point guard should today. I didn't even think to mention him in my recap, but he did play tough defense on the wing and take care of the ball.

This was a good win.

knickelbein5 said...

Why don't we see more Jeff Ryan?

Lunker 35 said...

I posted this on LTP, but it applies here too:

The fans in the purple seats made me downright sick to my stomach last night! Something needs to be done about them. With 1:30 left the NU Students were going nuts as were all Wisc fans, but if you looked at the purple seats only a handful were on their feet. Seriously!??! I was in the "young alumni" section and I was going crazy! We need to replace those people with actual fans.

Also why didn't we see Ivan at all? Anyways any ideas on how we can uproot all of the purple passion eaters who troll the comfy purple backed seats?

Ryan said...

The fact Ivan and Jeff Ryan didn't play struck me as odd too, though, after a win its hard to really worry too much. I'd guess Capocci has out done Ryan in practice, perhaps his struggles to play defense and rebound against Michigan made BC nervous to play JR vs the large Badgers. I have no real theory why IP didn't see the court for at least a few minutes. As to out fans who don't ever get out of their seats, I wonder if we could give them instructions on how to be fans. I know it sounds dumb, but I really wonder if we had Fitz or Phillips come out at half time on Wednesday and ask them to please stand up and cheer if it would make an impression.