Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Three Point Shooting Leads Wildcats Past Chicago State 75-63

Mike Capocci and Jeremy Nash are NU's most athletic players

Three point shooting proved the difference in Northwestern’s 75-63 victory over Chicago State Wednesday night. Chicago State’s David Holston, the nation’s third leading scorer, recorded 22 points, but shot only 2-of-10 from three point range. His team shot only 2-of-15 overall. Northwestern shot 12-of-27 from three, led by Craig Moore (5-of-11) and John Shurna (4-of-6). Shurna’s effort was particularly impressive as his four threes in a row during the first part of the second half essentially clinched the contest for the Wildcats. Aside from Moore and Shurna, Kevin Coble was his usual steady self as he scored fifteen points on 7-of-12 shooting to go along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Northwestern won the rebounding battle 32 to 28, not great when you look at NU’s size advantage, but impressive when you consider Chicago State’s impressive athleticism.

Two other Wildcats who deserve special mention for their contribution to NU’s 13th win are Jeremy Nash and Mike Capocci. Nash, who has excelled defensively all year, came up just two steals shy of setting a school record as he recorded 7 steals. Those 7 steals combined with 3 offensive rebounds and 2 assists to give Nash another solid all around performance. At this point, Nash must be considered amongst the front runners for Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

Mike Capocci played 6 minutes, scoring 3 points, garbing 3 rebounds, and getting a steal. This might not seem like an impressive line, but Capocci is starting to show signs of being an athletic difference maker in the mold of Nash. Both excelled in high school because of their athletic skill. It took Nash until towards the end of his sophomore year to really look comfortable on the court. Now, he is one of the Big Ten’s most feared defenders. Now that Capocci is a sophomore, I am hoping his career is on a similar arc. Over the last two games, he has moved in front of Jeff Ryan and Ivan Peljusic in terms of minutes played and performed well. Given his athletic skill, Capocci could become a fantastic rebounder and defender like Nash, as well as a guy who go back door and slam the ball home in the mold of several of the Chicago State players who visited Welsh-Ryan tonight.

Finally, let me give a compliment to John Cantrell and David Holston from Chicago State. These two were among the best athletes I have seen in Welsh-Ryan Arena this year, Big Ten teams included. I wish them and their teammates success the rest of the year and hope they and the Wildcats both bring postseason basketball to Chicago.

1 comment:

TDC Mole said...

Gotta echo your comments about the big two from CSU, especially Cantrell. He was, by far, the best player I've seen in person this year, including Morgan from MSU. He has decent size, took good shots, didn't force much (only 1 really bad forced shot that I can recall), and jumped to the moon.