Earlier this college basketball
season, NU took the #1 (and then undefeated) Ohio State Buckeyes down
to the final minute, and lost by just one in Evanston. And today the Wildcats had a lead on the #1 in both polls Buckeyes, but couldn't close the deal. They lost 58-57, despite out-rebounding the Bucks by eleven.
A day after Northwestern senior Juice Thompson put the point in point guard (breaking the Big Ten
Tournament single game points record, the offense was stuck in neutral.
Still, they once again took the #1 Buckeyes to the brink. Some of the scoring decline was to be expected given the shift in style of play, but a lot of the problems came from failing to convert easy chances.
Holding a lead within the final minute, the Cats had their chances, but blew them all down the stretch. Ohio State prevailed 67-61 in OT, in a game much closer than anyone expected.
"Disappointment,I think we have a good team so you want to win those games and we're right there. I am proud of the way they played and how they executed, we just didn't get it done," Bill Carmody said.
The Cats were led by John Shurna's 23 points and five rebounds. Drew
Crawford had a double-double, but once again struggled mightily with his
shot, going an awful 4-16 from the field.
"We didn't come here to come close, we came to win. And it's very disappointing," Shurna said.
The Cats did a good job limiting Jared Sullinger though, the Big
Ten's Freshman of the Year and first team all-conference selection was
only 2-12 from the floor.
But he did some serious damage from the foul line, going 16-18 and finishing just two boards shy of a 20-20 game In their meeting in Evanston, the Wildcats controlled the glass to a +11 margin. Today, the Buckeyes out-rebounded the Cats by a whopping 48-27 margin..
Juice finished 15 points on 5-12 shooting.
Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Midwest webzine. He's also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Tribune's blog network, Walter Football, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank
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