The Wildcatscame out missing shots, committing turnovers, and quickly falling behind IUPIU20-8 in the first 13:40 of the game.Loss of a second starter
Northwestern responded with fast breaks led by freshman point-guard TJ Parker and hot outside shooting to go on a 20-7 run to take a 28-27 lead into halftime.
The ‘Cats extended their lead to eight points, 36-28, with an 8-1 run to start the second half.
IUPUI forward Antoine Lewis, however, quickly erased theNorthwestern advantage with baskets on four consecutive possessions on the way to a 16-4 run that left Northwestern trying desperately to play catch-up in the final minutes of the game.
The 'Cats drew within one point with three minutes to play before disaster struck. After an IUPUI fast break, Northwestern senior forward Winston Blake [NU Photo - right] was left under Northwestern's basket writhing in pain with a severely sprained right ankle with 2:06 to play.
With Blake--the Wildcats' leading scorer from the past two seasons--out of the game, senior center Aaron Jennings quickly fouled out. This left Northwestern with a young team on the floor trying to battle back for a last-minute victory.
The ‘Cats pulled within two, 53-51, in the final minute of the game. Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody went for the knockout punch after freshman forward Jimmy Maley drew a charge to give Northwestern the ball back with 0:31 to play.
On the ensuing possession, freshman shooting guard Evan Seacat missed a difficult three-point attempt from the corner that would have given Northwestern a one-point advantage with 0:12 to play.
Northwestern was forced to foul and put IUPUI on the line. IUPUI connected on three of four free-throws in the closing seconds and the ‘Cats ultimately suffered a demoralizing 56-53 loss that ended a 13-game home non-conference winning streak.
With sophomore forward Vedran Vukusic already sidelined for the season with a shoulder injury, the biggest story of the evening for the Wildcats was the ankle injury to forward Winston Blake. Winston spent several minutes under the basket writhing in pain before being helped off the floor by Northwestern's trainer and medical staff. When helped off the court, Winston didn't so much as touch his right sneaker to the court--much less attempt to put any pressure on it.Jason lays a goose egg
After being taken to the end of the Northwestern bench, Winston's right shoe and sock were immediately removed and his ankle was wrapped in ice. Coach Carmody said that the injury looks like a sprain and that X-rays would surely follow. Wildcat fans can expect the Wildcats leading scorer from the past two seasons to be out of action for the immediate future. For what it's worth: Winston was playing his best game of the season, scoring 13 points on 4 of 6 shooting (3 of 5 from beyond the arc), playing aggressively, and grabbing five rebounds.
Starting for injured forward Vedran Vukusic, senior Jason Burke [NU Photo-left] played all 40 minutes Wednesday night. Nevertheless, Jason didn't score a single point and turned the ball over four times. He contributed with five assists and three rebounds, but erred on critical plays. In the first half, Winston Blake found Jason wide open under the basket with a no-look pass that Jason couldn't handle and lost off his hands out of bounds. On a crucial possession with Northwestern trailing in the middle of IUPUI's second-half run, Jason forced a drive down the lane and bowled over an IUPUI defender for an obvious offensive charge call."Scooter" continues to impress
Perhaps most critically, Jason missed a wide-open bunny under the basket off a beautiful touch pass from Jimmy Maley with 1:10 to play following two missed IUPUI free-throws as NU was trying to get back into the game. While Jason was unable to get on the scoreboard, every other Wildcat starter scored in double-figures. This was the first game of the season that the loss of Vukusic was truly felt.
Speedy freshman point-guard TJ Parker, nicknamed "Scooter" by Coach Carmody, continued to impress Wednesday night. TJ scored 11 points, stole the ball three times, and dished out four assists while only turning the ball over twice. He led several fast breaks to get Northwestern back into the game in the first half. On the play of the game, TJ took a rebound under the Jaguar's basket and drove baseline-to-baseline with a crafty, last-moment, behind-the-back dribble for a left-handed layup and a self-made fast break.Credit where credit is due