against the #1 Team in College Basketball, but while he led all scorers, the Fighting Illini had 3 in double figures, the Cats had only 2. Hachad finished with 23 points of 7 of 17 shooting, including 7 of 11 freethrows to go with 9 rebounds and 3 steals. He started the game with a three pointer, and the Cats actually led the Illini for the first 3 minutes.
The only other Wildcat in double figures was Vedran Vukusic - he shot 6 of 14 from the field, and matched Hachad's 2 of 5 from the arc. But the Illinois defense bottled up Vedran most of the afternoon, and he never looked at ease.
Also shut out of his game was T.J. Parker- he finished with just one point 3 assists and a steal. Davor Duvancic [who Mussberger couldn't seem to pronounce right] finished with 4 points and 6 rebounds.
Overall, NU shot 34% from the field, 25% from the arc and 58% from the foul line. They did get 13 points off Illinois' 16 turnovers, but turned the ball over 19 times allowing 21 points from NU mistakes by the Illini.
Three Illini scored in double figures - James Augustine [15 pts, 7 boards], Luther Head [14 pts, 6 rebounds] and Roger Powell Jr. [11 pts, 7 rebounds]. Deron Williams was held to 8 points, but had 9 assists for Illinois. What was different was that Illinois only shot 22% from outside the arc - last game was a long ball demonstration by the Illinois backcourt.
After the game, Bill Carmody was asked about how the Wildcats played today...
BC: Clearly better than down in Champaign, 9 first half turnovers or something, I think we had 10 or they had 9 or whatever, If you're going to beat a team like this, or really give them a real game, we almost have to play a perfect game.There seemed to be a lot of close in shots where the ball just didn't fall for the Cats. They just couldn't cut into the Illinois lead.
Not quite the turnovers, but the things that plagued us most of the year showed up again; foul shots, they keep you close. Maybe at halftime you're down 7 instead of 15 or 16.
BC: Yeah, that's track record. We've seen that an awful lot this year. I think T.J. turned the ball - walked in the lane - didn't we get to 9, maybe 11, and he walked in the lane. It was like - Whoa.Kaplan pointed out that the Illini then went on an 18-4 run from that point.
And they came down and got a 3 point play - old fashioned play, something like that.
BC: Yeah, that really closed it out.Are the Illini as good as you thought they were?
BC: They have a game tomorrow and a game the next day and a game after that - I'm not saying they weren't completely focused on us, but they had beaten us so convincingly down there, human nature is to ease up a little bit and maybe that was the smart thing to do -And the final thoughts on the seasonand the outlook for this team...
Its a very good team.
BC: Well, you know we'll have to see, some of these guys -The loss ends an up and down season for NU - One that saw visions of a first time NCAA bid, but early losses, and playing out of synch at times brought the Cats down to another losing season.
Mohamed, in the last 7 games, was the Mohamed we expected for 30 games because he's as good a player as any out on the court and that counts the outgoing Illinois guys, but if he's only doing it a third of the season, its not good enough.
If he does it for a whole season, he gives you a guy you can build around because he can score in a lot of different ways, he makes his own plays, You saw you could coach him, banged 2 3-s in the first half, so, we could run down each guy but the potential is there and now you gotta realize that potential.
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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