The Falcons of Bowling Green quickly answered with 11 points to take a 15-13 lead with 11:10 to go in the first half.Wildcats' Head Coach Bill Carmody uncharacteristically gave his players a tongue-lashing at half-time for their uneven play. The Wildcats responded by evening the game at 38 within the first two-minutes of the second half.
The Wildcats missed their first six three-point field goal attempts and watched Bowling Green extend its lead to 26-16 with just over five minutes to go in the first half.
Northwestern was finally able to connect on some outside shots and tie the game at 29 before falling behind again 36-31 going into half-time.
The lead teetered back and forth for the rest of the game. The Falcons utilized John Reimold (17 points, five-of-six shooting from beyond the arc) from the exterior and Kevin Netter (20 points) on the interior. The ‘Cats, meanwhile, managed to get the motion offense clicking for some easy buckets on back-door cuts.Star of the game
Aaron Jennings, playing with four fouls, was dominated on the inside by Falcon's center Kevin Netter. After Bowling Green had taken a 57-56 lead, Northwestern switched forward Jason Burke [NU Photo-right] on Netter in the low-post on defense. The switch proved effective as the Falcons were unable to create any points in the low post in the closing minutes of the game.
The Wildcats went to Aaron Jennings in the low-post on offense and drew a foul with 2:39 remaining. Jennings hit one-of-two free throws to tie the game at 57.
The respective defenses held until the Falcon's sharp-shooting forward John Reimold fouled out going over the back of Winston Blake [NU Photo-left] for a rebound with 0:48.7 to play. With Northwestern in the double-bonus, Blake knocked down both free-throws to give Northwestern a 59-57 lead.
The Wildcat lead was quickly erased as Jabari Mattox canned a three from the top of the key to give Bowling Green a 60-59 lead with 0:29.5 on the clock.
With the shot clock off, the Wildcats could have held the ball for the final shot. Instead, they immediately went inside to center Aaron Jennings, [NU Photo-right] who was fouled making a move across the lane. Jennings, the Wildcats' best free-throw shooter coming into the game, again made one-of-two free-throw attempts and tied the game at 60.
Ronald Lewis tried to penetrate for Bowling Green on the other end, but was called for traveling and gave the ball back to Northwestern with 0:15.1 to play.
Wildcats' Head Coach Bill Carmody substituted freshman point-guard TJ Parker in off the bench for Jitim Young. Parker pushed the ball past half-court and then dashed past the Bowling Green defense for the game winning layup with seven-seconds to play.
Bowling Green rushed the ball to the other end and put up desperation shot at the buzzer that fell short and Northwestern walked away with a 62-60 victory.
Speedy freshman point-guard TJ Parker is becoming a real crowd favorite in Evanston. In addition to making the game-winning shot, TJ led the Wildcats in scoring with 15 points. TJ also came up with a career-high six steals, dished out two assists, grabbed four rebounds, and was a perfect five-of-five from the free-throw line. TJ sat out for part of the
second half with cramps in his right leg that were limiting his mobility.
Coach Carmody inserted TJ back into the lineup with 15 seconds remaining for his game-winning heroics. Carmody asked TJ, "Can you go one time?" TJ proved he, indeed, could. Carmody added, "Luckily, we've got that little guy."
A new starting line-up
The Wildcats came out with a new starting line-up against Bowling Green. Winston Blake returned to the starting line-up after being sidelined by a sprained right ankle suffered November 27 against IUPUI. Jimmy Maley, [NU Photo-left] who had started for Winston the past two games, stayed in the starting line-up as senior forward/guard Jason Burke returned to the bench where he was effective last season as the Wildcats' sixth man. For the third straight game as a starter, Jimmy scored in double figures (13 points), hustled, played with poise, and demonstrated his understanding of the motion offense. Jimmy made one of the most spectacular plays of the game when he ran the baseline and made a leaning floater as the shot-clock expired to
put Northwestern up 48-45 with 11:38 remaining in the game.
Jason Burke, meanwhile, was much more effective coming off the bench than he had been in recent games as a starter. Jason made two crucial three-point shots and two crucial free-throws in addition to providing greatly needed support in the low-post on defense.
The ‘Cats win one from the free-throw line
Last season, the Wildcats lost many of their close games as a result of poor free-throw shooting, and Northwestern lost its last home game against IUPUI, in part, due to poor free-throw shooting. Saturday, the Wildcats out-shot the Falcons from the free throw-line en route to their two point victory. The Share on Twitter