Cigars, but no win for Keady: NU 67 PU 61

After the game, <b>NU </b>Forward <b>Vedran Vukusic</b> summed up the NU <b>Wildcat</b>'s goals in this game, and the future -<br> <blockquote><i>...there's no reason why we can't finish 8 and 8 this year or win all the games for the rest of the year, if we keep the intensity we had today.<br> </i></blockquote> Today, the <b>Wildcats </b>played their game, and came away with the win, despite another end-of-game scare...<br>

Yes it got scary with 8 minutes left again...
After Davor Duvancic's layup at 8:34, the Boilermakers went on an 11 point run, but this time, the Cats made the free throws, and never let Gene Keady's team get inside 5 points. Freethrow shooting by Vedran Vukusic, Davor Duvancic and T.J. Parker all contributed to keeping the lead and Mohamed Hachad's layup at 1:14 kept the boilers at bay.

Despite the loss Thursday afternoon to the injury to Mike Thompson and then Friday's injury to Ivan Tolic, the Cats came out at the beginning of the game and ran off 11 points. All told, NU finished the game with 10 Steals and 24 points off Purdue turnovers. The Cats only had 11 turnovers in the game, compared to the Boilermaker's 23.

AP-Brian KerseyThe Big 10's leading scorer, Purdue's Carl Landry [AP Photo Right] was also shut down by the defensive efforts of NU's Vince Scott and right, Michael Jenkins [and maybe Assistant Coach Craig Robinson's game plan]. Landry did eventually score 12 [with 5 rebounds] but was held virtually scoreless in the first half. 3 other Boiler's scored in double figures - David Teague [11], Brandon McKnight [10] and Chris Harley [10].

Vedran Vukusic finished the game as the leading scorer with 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting [3 of 7 from the arc and 4 of 4 FTs]. T.J. Parker added 18, Tim Doyle was 7 of 8 from the foul line to finish with 9. Vince Scott did score 7 in addition to his defensive effort. It was a game where every Wildcat who played recorded a steal - Parker had 3 in the game. Davor Duvancic only scored 4, but recorded 7 assists. Hachad finished the game with 5 points, Michael Jenkins scored 3 with 2 assists and 2 steals.

After the game, the WGN guys first turned to Vedran Vukusic - First they asked about the 2 different games - the last 7 minutes and the rest of the game...
VV: I don't know, I think we lost focus there, we relaxed, we went up 19 points and we thought the game was over and they started knocking down shots and they were getting open and they were kind of back in the game. But down the stretch we started making those foul shots and that helped us win the game.
Dave asked about Vedran's layup at 2:02 that stopped the Purdue run.
VV: I don't know, I can't really judge the game on that one drive. Its a team effort and we played with great intensity and I think this was our best effort so far this season and if we can keep this up the season won't be over in March.
AP-Brian KerseyBob Hildebrand commented that this game might have been Vedran's most complete game. He asked about how Vedran stopped Landry [AP Photo Left] from scoring...
VV: I think we focussed a lot on him first half. Coaches emphasized that in practice the past few days. They said he's really a good offensive player, I think we did a very good job on him the first half. We limited his touches and he's very hard to guard down low once he gets the ball and coach told us to limit his touches and that's what we did and that's what helped us.
He's probably too good for any one guy to guard but between you, Davor and Vince you played the physical game needed.
VV: The guys on the perimeter were laying off their people and it seems he dropped the ball on the ground ... and making it hard for him to either pass or score.
This is the first game of the 2nd half of the Big 10 Season, are you guys trying to start fresh as of this game?
VV: Coach mentioned before the game last year at this time we were 3 and 5, and this year we're 2 and 6 and we finished 8 and 8 last year and there's no reason why we can't finish 8 and 8 this year or win all the games for the rest of the year, if we keep the intensity we had today.
Next up was NU Coach Bill Carmody...Dave noted that the team really needed the win, but what about the way the Cats won...
BC: Well, when our team does that and we lose, I always say its easy to make shots when you're down 12 or 14 so IU've got to say it the other way and be fair to my team.

I thought we played pretty good defense for a long time there and then it was like, shades of Ohio State a little bit and you were saying "Whoah, how we gonna get a score here."

Then Vedran had a nice drive and Mohamed had a nice Drive, that was just individual plays, so and then we made our foul shots.
And before that was Hachad's wide open look for 3.
BC: Right, we worked the ball down pretty nice and Timmy found him across the court and you know, sometimes they go, sometimes they don't.

When they start double teaming us pass to the forward, sometimes that causes problems and we just started sending the guys through so we didn't have to throw it there, but that helped us a little bit but that was my fault, I didn't do it sooner.
In the Pregame show you said that this game would be won defensively, it looked like you came out playing defense.
BC: I thought they made it tough for them to get the ball down to Landy, and I thought Vince did a nice job on Landry in there because at halftime I think he only had 2 or 3 shots.

But the pressure from Mike and when Mohamed is in there, and certainly the full court pressure took them out of a lot of things they wanted to do.
Vince actually used his quickness to get around Landry a couple of times and knock the ball away or get the steal.
BC:  Vince and quickness? [Laughs]
Would you go over the problems with Mike Thompson and Ivan Tolic?
BC: Mike felt some pain in his foot on Thursday night and yesterday afternoon he had an Xray and it didn't show up anything and he had an MRI late in the day yesterday and there's no fracture, but a lot of things are bruised in there - he can't walk on it at all.

So we tried to get Ivan in there who actually hasn't played all year for the most part and he looked pretty good, he said his knees felt good, so I threw him in there, he played 3 minutes in practice and he broke his hand so its just crazy, but
 the guys came through.
 The Freethrow shooting had to be a big part of it, starting out 9 for 9 finishing up 22 of 26.
BC: yeah, close games, down to the wire here, it just doesn't give them another chance to take that 3, it goes from 5 to 7 and then you feel a little more comfort.
Vedran made the comment that this was the most intense they've played. Did you sense that?
BC: Well, we started the game. It was 11 - zip or something like that so clearly we had not been starting games well and so our defense was good - even the ones they took weren't great looks I didn't think, there were shots off the dribble that guys don't normally make so I thought our defense was pretty good and that sort of set the tone.

And then when you score, you can press, and this team [Purdue] has some problems in the back court breaking pressure so I thought Mohamed did a very good job in the first half. Keeping guys in front of him.

You know he loves to reach, and is successful some times but I thought he kept McNight in front of him and then we had some traps that worked pretty well, and it sort of disrupted them.
Not only did the Cats start with an 11-0 run, but they closed the 1st half with a 14-4 run too. It was a really good first half by the Cats...
BC: You know we forced turnovers. I think they had 14 turnovers at half.

In fact I was really disappointed because I thought T.J. had a couple break ways I thought he should have finished off. Vedran threw one of his flyers to somebody that didn't land and actually we could have had a 20 point lead.
Did you do anything different with Landry?
BC: You've got to be lucky a little bit but I did - we just tried to limit his touches - tried to double team him before he got the ball. Have two guys on him before, and they throw it to someone else and they beat you, OK, but we didn't want him to touch the ball that much, so that was our strategy.
And it worked - next up are the Marmots of Minnesota on Wednesday, up in Minny Land.

Coach Bill Carmody's Post Game comments [in italics] are taken from
the WGN Post Game Show
with Dave Eanet & Bob Hildebrand
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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Purple Wildcats Top Stories

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