With an impressive total team effort Northwestern came from 10 points down in the second half to knock off #18 Purdue and reinsert themselves into the NCAA tournament bubble picture. Northwestern played 10 players in tonight’s contest. Nine of them scored points and nine of them seriously contributed to the win. In order to make sure everybody’s contribution is mentioned I will talk about each player individually.
Kevin Coble: Coble led the Wildcats with 16 points and 8 rebounds. He also recorded a key block and made perhaps the play of the game when he broke the press with a long pass to Luka Mirkovic for an easy layup. Also, along with Michael “Juice” Thompson, Coble was one of two Wildcats to hit key free throws down the stretch. Overall, Coble was 7-of-10 from the field and while his teammates set him up for a few easy baskets, he also hit a couple of his patented fade aways.
Juice Thompson: When Juice left the floor the Wildcats started to fall behind. When he returned to the floor the Wildcats started to climb into the lead. Thompson finished the game with 12 points and worked around potential foul trouble during the second half. Also, when Bill Carmody went to his defensive lineup Thompson was the Wildcats main scoring option and hit a clutch three with the shot clock running down.
Craig Moore: After s slow start Craig Moore his some big shots in the first part of the second half to start the Wildcat comeback. He finished with 12 points and dished out an impressive 6 assists against only 2 turnovers.
Kyle Rowley: Rowley scored early with a good quick move and later in the game grabbed a great offensive rebound off a Thompson miss to help the Wildcats keep the lead. He also played great defensive in his 11 minutes and made one of the best passes of the year when from under the basket he found Jeff Ryan cutting to the hoop.
Luka Mirkovic: Northwestern grabbed 11 offensive rebounds. Luka got five. He kept plays alive and the Wildcats took advantage. He also dished out 5 assists, in the first half it was his passing which helped keep the Wildcats in the game. He also scored six points including the key two off the Coble press breaking pass.
Jeremy Nash: Nash didn’t do much in the box score, but his defensive contributions on Purdue’s shooters allowed the Wildcats to extend their second half lead. Also, he pulled down one of NU’s offensive rebounds.
Jeff Ryan: Jeff Ryan played some of the best defense of the season on Purdue’s Robbie Hummel. If he plays defense like that all the time he will earn more playing time. Ryan made it extremely tough for the Boilermaker star to get off good shots in the second half buying pressuring him and forcing him into poor shots. He also kept the ball alive with two offensive rebounds. Also, Ryan’s ability to cut hard against the intense Boilermaker defense led to 6 points for the Wildcat junior.
Sterling Williams: The Wildcat senior stepped up with his biggest game of the season. He scored only four points, but his points were the points which took a 2 point lead and helped extend it out to a multiple possession game. He blew by a Purdue defender on one play and hit a clutch jumper on another off a pass from Juice Thompson.
John Shurna: Shurna scored two points, grabbed two rebounds, and dished off an assist. He also played very strong defense in the second half when he found himself guarding some big Boilermakers.
Ivan Peljusic: Peljusic saw his first action in more than a week playing a minute in tonight’s game.