No More Short Teams Please! NU 62 UPR-M 55

The University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez Tarzans came out with a short lineup and started knocking down 3 pointers against the Northwestern Wildcats Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, it seemed like it took almost a full half for the Cats to wake up, before they finally pulled ahead to stay. Kevin Coble led the Cats in scoring again. NU Faces Utah in the 5th Place Consolation Game Thursday.

Hard to believe that NU was behind most of the first half
and that NU finished the game 3 for 15 from outside the arc.

Or that when 4 players hit double figures, Craig Moore wasn't one of them, or that Vince Scott fouled out. This was a strange game.

Early on, UPR's Diego Garcia and Omar Velasquez just seemed to knock down 3 pointers. The Tarzans were turning the ball over, but the Wildcats couldn't convert. It was frustrating as NU kept shifting defenses to slow the scoring charge.

The Cats finally tied it at the half, then came out playing defense and scoring after the break to pull ahead and win.

Kevin Coble led the Cats with 16, most in the 2nd half, after almost sitting out the first. he did it all from the floor, not free throws or treys. Tim Doyle broke out of his scoring funk, hitting 6 free throws and 3 FGs to finish with 12.

Jason Okrzesik picked up the slack from Craig Moore, hitting 2 of 3 from the arc and finishing with 11. Sterling Williams also had a good game from the field, scoring 10 and making his presence known on defense.

Jeremy Nash chipped in 5 points and a bunch of defense, Craig Moore spent much of the game on the bench, he missed 4 threes, and only hit 1 FG to finish with 4 points.

NU seemed to have trouble out rebounding the Tarzans today as they "crashed the boards" to take rebounds away from the Wildcats. According the Assistant Coach Paul Lee...
Lee: Its something we've been working on a lot guys, and we did take care of boxing out a little bit better this time around.

I think there's too many times there's loose balls out there that we're not getting so thats we'd like to address now  - getting guys on the floor  - it seemed that every time the ball was on the floor, one of their guys came up with it..

Every time that happened, they seemed to score.
Something else different in this game was NU's use of a "short" team - with both Vince Scott and Ivan Tolic on the bench....
Lee:  We work on all kinds of different combinations in practice. That wasn't a very big team so it didn't  hurt us defensively. and our offense moves pretty well when Timmy [Doyle] plays center  - someone else is playing center sometimes.

[Its] something we work on in practice  and if the matchups dictate it we can go to that in our lineups.

How important is the contribution by players like Jeremy Nash and Jason Okrzesik in games like today...
Lee:  ...Timmy's been in a funk offensively - he's still getting some assists but he's not making any shots. He's missing even the easy plays he usually makes around the basket, so we've got to get him out of that

But if that means that guys can come off the bench and shoot Jason and Jeremy did today I really think that that's going to benefit us down the line .

The tournament has already had several major upsets. Northwestern is in the consolation round and will face either Virginia or Utah for 5th place. Coach Lee wasn't surprised...
Lee:  I just think its something that's going on all over the country. The term "mid Major" has gone out the door now.

You go against all these guys, and you come and see them play - I mean, there's good players on every team.

Central Florida [won 67-61] guarded Utah like I've never seen before. It was a great defensive effort by them, then Appalachian State [80-69] came out against Virginia and made every shot they took in the first half so, its not surprising if you watch these scores across the country because its happening all over.
       Watch the front page for more info on NU's next game - it will be at 11 AM Wildcat time on WNUR.

Paul Lee's post game comments from the WNUR Post Game Show

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