A Little Better Today: NU 56 UTPA 48

The <b>Northwestern Wildcats</b> improved to 7-5 (6-1 at home) as they finished the preconference season with a fairly easy win over the <b>University of Texas - Pan American</b>.<br> <br> Not that it was 40 minutes of roundball domination at Welsh Ryan Friday afternoon, but the Cats did hold down the turnovers, and saw a great individual effort from junior forward <b>Tim Doyle</b> [Pictured]...<br>

I guess if you want one of NU's starters to step up, you stick them on the bench...
NU Coach Bill Carmody has been searching for the right starting combination, and it seems that NU Senior Forward Davor Duvancic is always a good catylist off the bench, so it was Junior Forward Tim Doyle's turn to sit out the start.
AP PhotoYou can never be sure about motivating ball players, but it seems that Doyle's game woke up, as he scored a season high 13 points on 5 of 8 shooting, including 1 from outside the arc and 2 of 4 from the free throw line. He also grabbed 6 rebounds, blocked two shots, had 2 assists and even stole the ball.

Junior Point Guard T.J. Parker also has been in the doldrums, and wound up only playing 30 minutes due to foul trouble, but he snapped out at the end to score 10 points. Forward Vedran Vukusic hit for 9 with 2 rebounds and a block while Forward Davor Duvancic scored 6 with 4 rebounds.

Center Mike Thompson had a so-so day scoring [5 points], but grabbed 7 rebounds, and had 2 additional blocks, 2 assists and a steal. Evan Seacat also got back on the scoreboard board shooting 2 for 2 from the floor with a three.

Vedran Vukusic didn't make his almost patented run at 7 minutes today, he was on the bench with 4 fouls. Mohamed Hachad fouled out after scoring 6 and grabbing 6 rebounds. The Cats ended the first half with 4 starters carrying 3 fouls into the locker room. Vukusic wound up sitting 7 minutes during the game.

After the game, NU Coach Bill Carmody took advantage of one of his Alumni, Jitim Young, by handing him the postgame microphone in front of the Welsh Ryan crowd...
BC: He's much better than me so Happy New Year everybody and I'll turn this one over to Jitim...
Jitim was on the spot...
JY: yeah a surprise.
Home much of the team has he seen so far?
JY: This was my first game, I've been following the team around over the internet see how they were doing and I think its going to take somebody in the locker room to really step up and be a strong manager and be a leader. One of the guys that understands what it took last year to make it.
You have any eligibility left?
JY: I wish...
Has he talked with any of his former teammates about assuming the leadership role on this year's team?
JY: Yeah, I talked with Mike Thompson about it and Michael Jenkins - they are two of the older guys. But its one thing to tell them - its going to take a lot of experience for them getting them to understand what a leader takes.

That's what it took me, I learned from Tavares [Hardy] and as my career progressed, I began to be more vocal and I was watching the guys on the floor and they weren't talking to each other - something we didn't do last year, we always talked.
How about an update on your career over in Europe...
JY: I'm playing in Greece right now, doing well, I'm leading my team in points, rebounds and steals [crowd cheers] Trying to work on my game and become a better player . See what happens...
And the WGN crew wasn't going to let NU's coach off the hook....

Before Jitim's appearance, Coach Carmody was asked if he was happy with the Wildcat's performance...
BC: I think we played a little bit better, I know I've been a little bit down, I think we played -- gosh, we've had some pretty good practices.

I thought we played better today, fewer turnovers but they're not really pressing us, they really didn't come after us so still 10 turnovers is too many against a team that is basically playing from the top and keying in.

And I don't know what you can do - you're 9 of 20 from the foul line, and they were so sagged in you have to take shots and you don't make any 3 point shots - its tough to get a real read.
So after a break, the coach was asked where he thinks the team is right now.
BC: Well, I've been waiting for Doyle to do a little bit, I thought he did today, he was a little more agressive, finished off some stuff, which is a good thing to see.

It was foul shooting, I mean, is it time put in? It seems we spend a lot of time but that makes such a big difference in those conference games that come down to a foul shot here and a foul shot there, a made 3 and just not really coming through the way we should.

That's disturbing - I want to keep Mike Thompson out there but if a guy's shooting 30% from the foul line, what are you going to do in a close game. Its a tough situation.
Kaplan asked if Davor brings more flow to the NU offense.
BC: Davor was in there in the very beginning of the game after about 7 minutes or so, he got a little cut from T.J. for a layup and a nice little play against some zone, Vedran wide open for 3, so Mike's just going to have to pick that up more quickly because when he's in there, he's the difference.

He blocks shots, alters some shots, so we just have to figure out and I still haven't done it, by conference time we should know but I don't so we'll just have to figure it out - who's going to make some shots for us.

We made 3 3-s today, I'm glad we didn't take as many, because we're not making them. But are we capable of making them, 'cause everybody's going to lay off - they're going to lay off us and somebody's going to have to make an open shot. That's all it is.
And a Happy New Year to everyone. Next are the Indiana Hoosiers - still dangerous at home in Welsh Ryan next Wednesday.

Coach Bill Carmody's Post Game comments [in italics] are taken from
the WGN Post Game Show
with Dave Eanet & David Kaplan
and may have been edited for clarity

You can send your comments or "back door" information
to Coach Roy - CoachRoy74 on AIM
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