UIC rolled out to an early 8-0 lead as Northwestern's leading scorer and rebounder, Aaron Jennings, picked up two fouls in the first two minutes of the game.
Northwestern went on a 9-0 run to take a 9-8 lead that immediately vanished when UIC Junior forward Cedric Banks entered the game. Banks was unstoppable in the first-half, scoring 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor, 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc, and 2-of-2 from the free-throw line to lead the Flames to a 36-25 halftime lead.A.J. shut out
UIC blew the game wide open with a 14-3 run to begin the second half. The Wildcats cut the lead to 12 points with just over five-minutes remaining in the game, but were unable to get any closer.
The loss drops the Wildcats' record to 5-3.
Northwestern Senior center Aaron Jennings entered the game leading the Wildcats in scoring, averaging over 13 points per game. On the Wildcats' fist possession, Aaron got the ball in the low post, pivoted, and hit a leaner under the basket while appearing to also draw a foul.
The call, however, went the other way as Aaron was called for an offensive charge and the basket was negated. Just seconds later, A.J. picked up his second foul on the defensive end of the floor. Aaron stayed in the game, but played tentatively from that point forward. Aaron was relatively ineffective on both ends of the court, giving up easy points in the paint to UIC and failing to score a single point for Northwestern.
After the game, Northwestern Head Coach Bill Carmody was openly critical of Aaron's defensive play: "Aaron's a senior. He's gotta be able to play with two fouls. It didn't matter who got the ball down there; they scored on him. It's been the same way in every game we've lost—-even in the ones where we've won—-our low-post defense is bad."Credit where credit is due
Coach Carmody admitted that his team was completely outplayed: "I just thought that [UIC] played a great game. They dominated us. I don't think you can get outplayed much more easily than they did to us tonight. They made their shots; they ran their stuff. In the first half, we couldn't get a rebound because they didn't miss. I credit their offense and credit our bad defense."A bright spot?
Northwestern was out-rebounded by a whopping 42-to-15 margin in the contest.
Freshman guard Evan Seacat came off the bench with just over 14-mintues to play in the second-half and stayed in the game until the final buzzer. Evan wound up leading the Wildcats in scoring with 16 points in his limited time on the court. Evan was 4-of-7 from the floor, 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. After the game, Coach Carmody downplayed Evan's breakout performing by saying, "When you're down 15, it's easy to make shots."Another solid game for "Scooter"
Freshman point-guard T.J. Parker put in another solid performance for the Wildcats, scoring 15 points without committing a single turnover. T.J. was the only Wildcat able to make anything happen for much of the second-half, knocking down two three-point field goals for Northwestern's only points in the first ten minutes of the second-half.The upcoming tilt
T.J. also connected on both attempts from the free-throw line, improving to 89 percent on the season.
The Wildcats host the Rams of Fordham this Sunday, December 22 at 1 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Fordham is only 1-6 on the season, but has been competitive against top teams, including St. Johns. Northwestern looks to avenge their 3-point loss to Fordham on the one-year anniversary of their first matchup at Madison Square Gardens.
Go Cats - Beat 'em All!