Northwestern Wildcats downed the sloppy Phoenix of Elon, 66-51.  Coming off final exams and an eleven-day break, Northwestern committed only 8 turnovers to Elon's 22 in the 15-point victory. "> Northwestern Wildcats downed the sloppy Phoenix of Elon, 66-51.  Coming off final exams and an eleven-day break, Northwestern committed only 8 turnovers to Elon's 22 in the 15-point victory. ">

Blake bounces back from Ankle Injury

Turnovers were the big story in Evanston Wednesday night as the </font><b><font color="#330033">Northwestern Wildcats</font></b><font color="#000000"> downed the sloppy </font><b><font color="#CC6600">Phoenix</font></b><font color="#000000"> of </font><b><font color="#990000">Elon</font></b><font color="#000000">, 66-51.&nbsp; Coming off final exams and an eleven-day break, <b>Northwestern</b> committed only 8 turnovers to <b>Elon's</b> 22 in the 15-point victory.</font>

Northwestern took a 7-5 lead on a Winston Blake three-pointer in the fourth minute of the contest and never again trailed.  Elon was within five points at half-time before Northwestern ran away with the game on a 14-5 run to begin the second-half.

Northwestern led by as much as 21 before clearing its bench in the closing minutes of the game.

Winston's back

Winston Blake, [NU Photo-left] the Wildcats' leading scorer over the past two seasons, bounced back from a sprained right ankle to score 13 points, grab 6 rebounds, dish out 4 assists, and come up with 4 steals.  Winston sprained his right ankle in the closing minutes of Northwestern's home loss to IUPUI on November 27.  Winston missed his first start in s 62 against Kansas State and played somewhat tentatively in the Wildcats' two most recent contests, scoring only a combined 6 points.  Wednesday night, however, the Senior forward again showed that when he is healthy he can be much more than the catch-and-shoot player of seasons past.

Strong words about the new sixth man

Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody is not known for lauding his teams and players to the media.  Nevertheless, in an interview before Wednesday night's game, Coach Carmody said, "Evan [Seacat] is as good a shooter as I've seen in ten years."

Fittingly, for the first time, Freshman guard Evan Seacat was the first player off the bench for the Wildcats.  Evan confirmed that he has as much confidence in his shooting as his coach does, launching six three-point attempts in his 12 minutes on the floor.  Evan connected on two-of-six attempts from beyond the arc and finished with eight points, one remarkable go-and-give touch assist, and one hard-fought offensive rebound extending to the perimeter.

While his offensive skills still seem to exceed his defensive skills, it appears Evan will be seeing more and more playing time for Northwestern in the games to come.

A quiet leader

Senior center Aaron Jennings has made a solid case for himself as Northwestern's most improved player.  Aaron went into Wednesday night's game leading the ‘Cats in scoring with 12.8 points per game.  Aaron again led the Wildcats in scoring against Elon with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor with multiple nifty offensive moves around the basket, his eighth three-point basket in 17 attempts on the season, and a couple more points from the charity stripe.  Aaron also added three rebounds and three assists.
A new role player?
Wildcat fans have been wondering what to make of Junior guard Jitim Young this season.  Jitim, who has started every game he has played as a Wildcat and proven to be the team's most dynamic star over the past two seasons, has been a different player for the Wildcats almost every game this season.

For the first time in his Northwestern career, Jitim went scoreless Dec. 4 against NC State just three games after pouring in 29 points against New Hampshire.

Wednesday night, Jitim contributed to the Wildcats' victory with eight points, three assists, and three rebounds—-two of which were on the offensive glass.  Jitim also knocked down four-of-five attempts from the free-throw line, where he struggled in his first two seasons as a Wildcat.

The upcoming tilt

For the first time in a non-tournament situation since 1993, Northwestern plays games on consecutive days as it hosts the Flames of UIC Thursday night at 7 p.m.  Coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance and returning the heart of its lineup, UIC figures to present the Wildcats' most challenging non-conference home opponent of the season.
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