Saturday, February 28, 2009

Craig Moore finishes strong, Wildcats top Hawkeyes 55-49

Senior day for Wildcat star Craig Moore was filled with emotions. From the moment he walked on to the court at Welsh-Ryan Arena the last time with tears in his eyes it was clear Moore felt the weight of his four year investment in the Wildcat program and wanted to end his career on a positive note. Though Moore struggled initially on senior day, in the end he provided the Wildcats with a key five points when he hit a clutch three and drilled two free throws to clinch the win for the Wildcats. Moore’s fiery spirit has always been part of his success and it was great to see that in the end his emotions didn’t get the best of them on a day where he wasn’t at his best. In the past, a slow start would have doomed Moore and the Wildcats. Today that was not the case. It has been fantastic to see the progress Moore had made both physically and mentally during his career.

Other than Moore’s 11 points the Wildcats were led by Kevin Coble with 16 points and 9 rebounds and Michael “Juice” Thompson who scored 14. Thompson his three straight three in the second half after Iowa took a seven point lead. After Thompson’s last three, the Wildcats went from down seven to up one. As great as Juice’s shooting was, I think the special mention has to go to Coble’s rebounding and defense. At times I’ve been on Kevin Coble for his lack of defense, but today he got three blocks and made it very tough for Cyrus Tate to operate down low. Also, the nine rebounds were a season-high and for a time he looked like the only Wildcat who was in position for rebounds. In comparison, the Wildcat center position got a total of 1 rebound for Kyle Rowley.

Some credit does have to go Rowley who again looked quick with his moves and scored 4 points on 2-of-3 shooting in 13 minutes. Luka Mirkovic scored 3 points from the center position with 2 assists. Thought those numbers are somewhat underwhelming, they did take care of the ball and occupy space.

Other statistical highlights for NU were 4 assists from Thompson and 3 from Coble. John Shurna scored 7 points and made a great move towards the hoop taking an Iowa player off the dribble. If Shurna adds such moves to his arsenal he will become a very dangerous player. The best moment of the day, though, was Craig Moore overcoming 2-of-11 shooting to push the Wildcats to victory. At the end of the game when Moore kissed the Wildcat at center court it was one of the more emotional moments I have seen for Northwestern basketball. Hopefully, NU will post enough wins between now and Sunday March, 15 to make the NCAA tournament, but if not, I will be proud to welcome Moore and his classmates back to Welsh-Ryan for an NIT game.


John said...

I was at DePaul's debacle against St. John's this morning, so I had to watch the game on a TiVo aided delay, but I thought it was interesting how Carmody decided about 9 minutes or so into the second half that the Coble, Moore, Thompson, Nash, Mirkovic lineup was the one that was going to carry him. (Especially because I think Rowley outplayed Mirkovic.)

I'll have more comments and plus-minus up shortly.

Roger said...

I also thought that Rowley played better than Mirkovic. However, Mirkovic had some good blocks and took a charge in the last minute and hit a free throw to ice the game. I wonder why Mirkovic didn't attempt to score from the low post? He had great position several times but didn't do a thing with it.