How about a game
That was the NU win over Minnesota at Williams Center Wednesday night.
- where there were only two players in double figures, both of them guards? [Hint - see picture right]
- where the team with 17 steals wasn't the team on track to set a team season record for steals?
- where the Cats leading 3 point shooter doesn't hit from the arc until almost the end, and the Gopher's bomber goes 0 fer 5?
- where the NU Defense was the difference?
The Cats had led early, let Minnesota back in due to the play of Grier, and then chipped away in the final 8 minutes, never allowing the Gophers more than a 10 point lead. Vukusic's only 3 pointer got the score to 52-50. Robinson's lone free throw made it 53-50 and Vince Scott again came up with a big trey to tie the score.
- The two guards in double figures were NU's T.J. Parker [19 pts] and Minny's Vince Grier [32 pts] [AP Photo above]
- The Cats had the 17 Steals, Parker had 6 of them, Davor Duvancic [AP Photo below], Mike Jenkins, and Mohamed Hachad had 3 apiece. [Tim Doyle and Vedran Vukusic had one each]. All told the Gophers turned the ball over 23 times.
- Vedran Vukusic, was 0 for 5 from the arc until the final minute - Aaron Robinson, Minnesota's leading 3 point shooter didn't hit anything from the field - he had one foul shot.
- See the interview with Coach Carmody below...
The Gopher's Brent Lawson missed a 3 pointer, and the Cats played for the final shot. All that extra practice payed off as Parker hit a jumper with .9 seconds on the clock. Vukusic intercepted the long inbounds pass and the game belonged to the Wildcats.
NU finished the game shooting 44% from the field and 33% from the arc. Minnesota shot 39.5% and 15.4% in the game. The Cats did take 50 shots to the Gophers' 38.
After the game, it was a relieved [but kind of happy] Bill Carmody who talked with WGN's Dave Eanet, commenting about playing the game in a very hostile environment..
BC: Yeah, I was just real proud of the guys - this is the first win in the whole year, 27 games on the road, unfortunately. This is a very difficult place to play across the league and they're all hard but this one is particularly hard, I think, so it was just a great victory for us.In the pregame, Carmody had told the audience that the Cats had to get a good start in the game - they did, leading 11-2 at one point, then went into a scoring drought, and had to withstand a Grier/Hagen led Minnesota comeback.
BC: I think in the last few minutes we scored 6 points in the half there and I wasn't too happy at halftime, I can tell you that right now, I didn't talk to them too long. I just basically challenged them.Dave mentioned Vince Scott's 3 at the end, Vedran's shot to tie, and Parker's 19 points and 6 steals...
"Somebody step up. We forced 12 turnovers in the first half and we got 2 points and somebody step up and knock down some shots because all they were doing is sagging down in there and giving you open looks." So I told them, "have some courage and make some shots."
BC: Yeah, T.J., you know we've been talking about that because in the first 7 league games, conference games, he had 6 steals and I just got on him all day in practice that a little guy - 5-10 guy - should be stealing the ball - as fast as he is, so I was really happy for him tonight.What does a game like this do for the confidence of the team? Especially since Vedran didn't have the point output tonight?
And the team in the second half, I thought our defense was pretty good and forced a lot of turnovers.
BC: It makes a big difference like you say, it can happen and you can still win and you just say, who knows how far we can go - it was still an all around good victory.This was a really important win for the Wildcats - it builds some confidence, and keeps them in the mix in the Big 10, as the win gets the record back to .500.
And Mohamed [Hachad], I thought, gave us that energy that we've seen before, in fact two years ago when we played here, at first we were losing, then he came in - it was sort of like his coming out party and he played well tonight also.
BC: It was very important, Dave, we talked about it - the first 5 or 6 teams have sort of separated themselves - then you have 5 or 6 other teams down at the bottom and in the second half, you want to make a move so you can get to the bottom of that top group by the end.Now the Cats can enjoy the flight home - Carmody said it could take 4 hours tonight.
That means you've been playing well and then we go into the tournament in a month - you're going on a sort of feeling good about yourself mode, I guess.
the WGN Post Game Show
with Dave Eanet & Bob Hildebrand
and may have been edited for clarity
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