And a Walkon provided the spark...
As the Northwestern Wildcats used a 12-0 run midway through the 2nd half to pull away from the Michigan Wolverines in the opening game of the Big 10 Tournament in Chicago, Thursday. The Wolverines pulled back to within 2, but a couple of T.J. Parker freethrows with 6 seconds left put the Cats up to stay, even after a Courtney Sims layup got the score to 56-58 with 3 seconds left.
NU got the ball down court as the clock ran out, and the Cats head to the next round to face Illinois.
Mohamed Hachad led all the Cats in scoring with 17 Points to go with 7 rebounds and 2 steals. T.J. Parker didn't start, but came off the bench to score 15. Vedran Vukusic fouled out, but hit for 6 on 2 3 pointers in his 15 minutes of play.
But if Hachad was the sparkplug, Michael Jenkins provided the spark. He was 2 of 3 from the arc - 8 points total - with only 2 rebounds, but also had 5 assists and 5 steals. Davor Duvancic finished 2 of 4/2 of 3 FT for 6 points and added 6 rebounds.
After the game, Bill Carmody was asked if the game was ever in doubt...BC: Unbelievable, I just thought the 2nd half came out - Hachad, Mo, well Mo played well the entire game, very agressive, and Mike Jenkins was getting his hands on things all over the place, I mean he was always tieing guys up, just played a heck of a game. [5 assists and 5 steals]Vedran had a tough day, but he came thru with a couple of threes when the Cats needed them.
Jenkins was sensational. He was bad the other night against Indiana so I think he was a little disappointed in himself - mad at himself.BC: Yeah, he knocked that 3 down there - he looked like a scarecrow. I mean his arms, limbs all over the place. You know he hasn't practiced for a couple of days - his shoulder's been bothering him, but obviously we're going to need him tomorrow.What do you do about the Freethrows? [NU was 10 of 19 for 53% for the game]BC: I don't have an answer. If there was an answer by now, after 4 months, we'd have it, by luck we would have hit on it.NU made a lineup change, with T.J. Parker coming in off the bench, but it seemed to have worked, with Parker's 15 point performance but did you get what you wanted with Mohamed back in the starting lineup?BC: He's [Hachad] one of our good players. He's got to play out there, but I was happy with this 3 guard lineup, sort of, and Mo and T.J., you know they played like you thought they would play all year a little bit, at least in the 2nd half, the energy was there and they were agressive.Your thoughts on getting another shot at Illinois tomorrow...BC: You know I talked to Tommy Amaker [Michigan's coach] before and I said that's the prize, the winner gets to play these guys, but as we said before the game, you come in the Big 10 and you play the best and Illinois' the best of the best conference in the country so...
We're all competitors and we want a shot at it.
They sort of humbled us down in Champaign a few weeks ago and ... you're in the arena, why not give it a shot.
Those who like early games can tune in for the rematch of NU vs Illinois - 11:00 AM Wildcat time Friday on ESPN...
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
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