NU/Illini Deja Vu - All over again

The <b>Northwestern Wildcat</b> 2002-03 Season came to an end with a thump, as the <b>Illinois Fighting Illini</b> continued the play that earned them their national ranking. <br><br> The final score: <b>Illinois 95 Northwestern 64</b>

We played this game once before, didn't we?

Are you sure - it seemed like we've been here before...

Illinois came out hot shooting over 90% again and one of the Illini starters scores 20. Makes you think, "Didn't we play this game last month?" [AP Photo-Rex Arbogast]
We just couldn't stop them the whole night, anything they wanted to do, I think they were 20 for 25  or 26 in the first half .

We just ran into a Buzz Saw - just weren't able to reverse in any way.
WGN's Dave Eanet asks - do think there wasn't any "Gas left in the tank" after last night's win over Minnesota?
To tell you the truth, I think they're just a lot better than we are. I don't know if we're a little tired or not, but thats a heck of a good team.

We just couldn't guard them, every single guy on the team seemed faster and quicker ...they were just buzzing right by us all night long.
Sophomore forward Davor Duvancic led the Cats in scoring with his career best 20 points, going 5-10 from the field and 9-9 from the free throw line. T.J. Parker hit 4-13 on his way to 11.

Jason Burke and Winston Blake closed out their NU careers with 7 Each. Aaron Jennings [AP Photo-Stephen Carerra - right] scored 5, 2 for 8 from the field and 1- 3 pointer.
We were just unable to stop them, and you know we did miss a number of easy shots, but even if we had made those I don't know if it would have made that much difference.
Jitim Young [AP Photo-Carrera-left] was virtually shut out going 1-11 from the field - with one 3 and 2 FTs for 5 points. He also had 5 rebounds. The Wildcats did shoot 22-23 from the charity stripe.
You know these guys are pretty athletic and they're a little bigger. I looked at halftme ... and Jitim and T.J. were 1 for 15 and 1 for 16  - two of your leading scorers - that means trouble.
For the Illini Brian Cook led with 20 points and 12 rebounds - another Double Double.  Roger Powell, the scoring leader in the last game came up with 14, followed by  Freshmen Nick Smith  and Dee Brown with 10 each. Deron Williams and Sean Harrington chipped in 8 each. The Illini out rebounded the Cats 41-30.

So that's the season. If there's a bright spot, its the younger players; Davor Duvancic, T.J. Parker, and Mohamed Hachad.
T.J.'s had a very nice year for us - he certainly has some things to work on - his midrange game.

has a lot to work on this year, there's some potential there but he has to really get down to it - working on that shooting so he's a threat.

Davor looked pretty nice out there. He's the difference between a guy -- you know Aaron's been hurt all year with his legs and you see a guy who is fast and driving by and keep going.

The last couple of game he's knocked down some three point shots - there's a chance there because our offense gets more fluid then its certainly worth pushing him.
So that's the season for the Northwestern Wildcats...the last word?
I think [our better days] are ahead... we were set back a little bit by injuries this year, and right now we're just not ready as a program - one or two injuries are very significant right now.

What we're shooting for is a situation where one or two injuries doesn't knock you out of the box.
So the Cats go home with the first Big 10 Tournament win of the Carmody era, and a bunch of young players with a lot of playing time.

Purple Reign
wants to thank everyone who helped us this year with our coverage - Gregory Kane for his reports after home games, and WGN's Mr. Wildcat - Dave Eanet asking the questions on the Post Game show that all we fans couldn't.

Northwestern Basketball Head Coach Bill Carmody
comments from the WGN Postgame Show

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