And So Ends the 2002-03 Season

<i><b>I thought the kids played with a lot of emotion early</i></b> - <br><br> NU Acting Head Coach <b>Paul Lee</b> about a game where Northwestern charged out, poured in 4 - 3 pointers but lost when <b>Iowa</b> came alive coming from way behind to win 77-61.

The Cats came out on fire - as 4 of the 5 starters, Forwards Jitim Young and Jason Burke, Center Aaron Jennings and Guard T.J. Parker opened up the game hitting 3 pointers. For the first 10 minutes, it looked like a repeat of the Iowa - Michigan State game of last Wednesday.

Assistant Coach Paul Lee, filling in for an ailing Bill Carmody, outlined the strategy for the game against Iowa...
We tell them all the time, you're going to get shots, they just have to go in. We thought that Iowa was going to play a lot of zone, and we kind of shot them out, shot the lights out so they had to come out and play us man-to-man.

[But] once they got going, the sorta fed off their offense, their defense picked up after they got some easy shots on them [us].

Unfortunately, once the Hawkeyes started making their offense work, the Wildcats shooting cooled off, allowing the comeback. Another big factor was Iowa Center Jared Reiner who had a double-double 20 points and 12 rebounds, including 8 on the offensive end.
Its been a problem for us all season long... we work on it in practice, trying to box out, trying to get bodies... but its not always the big guys at fault for these rebounding things, the offensive rebounds, a lot of times they're going to help out and there's not good rotation in front of their big guys, I saw that happen a lot tonight [today].

The big bodies we're lacking right now, we're playing out there mostly with three guards, four if you count Jason Burke - who is really a guard. So that puts a lot of pressure on us.

Its nothing that's a secret, we've been working on it in practice, working our box outs but we've found time and time again that sometimes you just get overpowered.

Another weak spot for the Cats today was 14 turnovers...
You know sometimes I think that with a young team you get excited, you make a mistake, and you slide the ball down the court and you try to make up for that mistake and here comes another one all of a sudden.

The ones that kill you are the ones where you turn the ball over, and they are going down there and getting the instant layup. They hit that one stretch there where it was one layup after another -- a lot of that was the fault of turnovers.

Next up for the Wildcats should be Minnesota, who beat the Cats twice during the season.
I don't think there's a team we've played so far that our guys don't think they can play with... You get on one of those neutral courts and hopefully we'll have some backing, a little excitement and you never know.
The Player of the Game - WGN's 5th Third Bank Hard Working Player of the Game was Junior Guard Jitim Young - who scored 26 [9-11/3-4 3s and 5-6 on free throws]. Jason Burke hit all 4 Free throws to go with his 2-5/2-4 shooting to hit for 10. Aaron Jennings played his final game in Iowa scoring 9 points. Winston Blake scored 7, T.J. Parker scored 6 and Evan Seacat got a 3 in the 2nd half.

Four Hawks scored in double figures; Jaqred Reiner had a double-double and 20 points, Senior Chauncey Leslie closed out his home court careerwith 15. Greg Brunner also had 15 and Glen Worley finished with 10.

For those worried about the absence of NU Coach Bill Carmody, its was reported by WGN during the post game that he was released from the hospital today.

He suffered "tightness" in his chest at the beginning of practice Friday, and was sent to the hospital [just down the street]. Coach Lee reported that all of the tests were negative, but he was held in the hospital overnight as a precaution. He is expected to be on the bench for the Wildcats first game in the Big 10 Tournament Thursday.

As for having the head job for the day?

It was actually have to make those calls, but I had a lot of help from Craig [Robinson] and Mitch [Henderson]- I leaned on them a lot as to what to run out of time outs - things like that. It was definitely a combined effort from the three of us.

Northwestern Acting Head Coach Paul Lee comments from
the WGN AM 720 Postgame show with Dave Eanet.
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