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MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2010 | 11

SPORTS | THE DAILY NORTHWESTERN

In second meeting, NU stops Tisdale in paint Men’s Basketball, page 12 ing Illinois into several turnovers and quick shots. They held the Illini to only one field goal from the 14- to 4-minute mark. At the same time, NU’s open shots began to fall. Nash scored 14 of his careerhigh 22 points in the period, including a 3-pointer to give the Cats a lead they held onto for good. “Coach and (the team) told me to keep shooting, and that’s what I tried to do,” Nash said. “And I finally banged one.” Following Nash’s 3-pointer, Thompson notched his first points of the game with a 3 of his own. The trey gave the Cats a four-point lead they held onto, even with the Illini scoring 10 points in the game’s final minute. A key component of NU’s victory was the team’s defense on Mike Tisdale, who scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the teams’ previous meeting. Tisdale played well when he did get the ball, shooting 5-of-6 with

14 points, but the Cats did a good job of keeping the ball out of the post. “I thought our centers were terrific tonight,” Carmody said. “I’ve been on those guys all year, and they did a really nice job tonight.” Sophomore centers Luka Mirkovic and Kyle Rowley played well on both ends. Rowley connected on both his field goals, and Mirkovic led the team in both rebounds and assists, nearly recording a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. The Cats forced 16 turnovers, including six by Demetri McCamey. The biggest turnover of the game came in the midst of NU’s 12-0 second-half run. Out of a timeout, the Illini failed to realize the clock hadn’t reset in part due to the noise of the Welsh-Ryan crowd. “They were here early, heckling some of the U of I players,” Nash said. “They got in their heads a little bit, and it helped us out in the end.”

NU 73, Illinois 68 NU FG-A Crawford 5-13 Shurna 4-9 Mirkovic 4-6 Thompson 2-5 Nash 5-15 Fruendt 0-1 Peljusic 0-0 Capocci 0-0 Marcotullio 0-1 Rowley 2-2

3P-A 1-7 2-5 0-0 1-5 3-10 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-1 0-0

FT-A 4-8 9-10 1-2 1-2 9-10 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0

Reb 2-3 0-2 3-6 0-1 3-1 0-0 0-1 1-1 0-1 1-2

PF 2 3 1 4 4 0 0 1 2 0

Pts 15 19 9 4 22 0 0 0 0 4

A 2 1 4 3 3 0 0 2 0 0

TO 1 2 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 0

Blk 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

S Min 0 38 0 33 1 34 0 27 4 35 0 7 0 12 0 6 0 12 0 6

Totals 21-52 7-28 24-32 10-18 17 73 15 7 1 5 200 Percentages – FG: .404 / 3P: .250 / FT: .750 Illinois FG-A Davis 0-3 Cole 1-2 Tisdale 5-6 Richardson 7-12 McCamey 5-8 Jordan 0-0 Keller 4-6 Paul 4-10 Griffey 0-0

3P-A 0-0 0-1 1-1 2-6 1-2 0-0 1-2 1-4 0-0

FT-A 0-0 0-0 3-5 1-1 2-3 0-0 1-2 3-4 0-0

Reb PF 0-2 4 1-2 1 1-5 3 1-4 3 0-4 4 0-1 2 0-4 2 0-1 5 1-0 2

Pts 0 2 14 17 13 0 10 12 0

A 1 1 2 4 4 2 1 0 1

TO 1 0 1 2 6 1 3 1 0

Blk 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 0

S 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0

Min 23 22 37 31 39 5 19 23 1

Totals 26-47 6-16 10-15 6-25 26 68 16 16 4 3 200 Percentages – FG: .553 / 3P: .375 / FT: .667

rodgersherman2007@u.northwestern.edu

NU

1st: 36 2nd: 37 Total: 73

Illinois

1st: 39 2nd: 29 Total: 68

Carmody ‘going to go 40’ with Thompson after performance against Illini Sidebar, page 12 the half, with reserves Mike Capocci and Nick Fruendt playing a combined 13 minutes. Thompson’s fourth foul came just before the 10-minute mark in the second half, as he was whistled for a reach-in. With his team on the short end of a 49-44 margin, Carmody left Thompson in. “What else are you going to do?” Carmody said. “We were down and if he fouls out, he fouls out. He knows it, and we’ve got to get back in the game.” Thompson got a short breather with eightand-a-half minutes left. But when the Cats

managed only a long 3-point miss by Nash with the shot clock winding down in their one offensive possession during Thompson’s break, Carmody sent him right back into the game. Trailing 51-44 when Thompson returned, NU rallied to take a 56-52 edge it did not relinquish. Thompson’s 3-pointer, his only basket, capped off the comeback. He added a free throw in the final minute as well. “He’s their leader—he runs the show,” Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. “He didn’t score against us either game very well, but he takes care of the basketball and gets them in their stuff. He wants to win, and that’s all he cares about. He does the things that a leader

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needs to do to help them win.” Thompson didn’t turn the ball over against the Illini, and the Cats committed seven as a team. Meanwhile, Illinois wasn’t quite as disciplined, turning the ball over 16 times. Point guard Demetri McCamey’s second-half struggles were a major factor in that high total. The junior committed five turnovers after intermission, and NU’s constant double teams appeared to rattle him. He scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the first half but added just two more in the second. “He just lost his poise in that stretch, and

it really hurt us because tonight we needed him to be pretty consistent,” Weber said. “They just ran at him just to get the ball out of his hands. It’s smart—I’m sure some other people will start doing it. But he’s got to keep his poise.” Based on Thompson’s composure in the clutch, he figures to play even more than his conference-high average of 37.5 minutes per game—as long as he avoids foul trouble. “I’m going to go 40 with that guy from now on,” Carmody said. “I like having him out there.” danieldaly2012@u.northwestern.edu

Success on court will bring sellouts Chappatta, page 12 51-44 with just more than seven minutes left in the game, sophomore forward John Shurna dunked the ball, sending the crowd into a frenzy. And the decibel level didn’t drop as the Cats went on a 10-1 run and took a lead they did not relinquish. The fan support is not just because this game was against in-state rival Illinois or because it was on the weekend. The first NU sellout of the season came on Jan. 2 against Michigan State, when most students were still on break. Though the Cats ultimately lost that game, the crowd was into the game and tried to make a difference. In Sports Illustrated, Chris Ballard wrote a column about the Cats and quoted T he Daily ’s Danny Daly as saying, “It’s almost like I go to an actual basketball school!” With subsequent sellouts against Purdue and Illinois, support for NU certainly seems headed in that direction. But why now? Where have these fans been in the past? It’s simple–people will pay to watch a quality product on the court. The buzz surrounding the team heading into the season was that behind its veterans and highly touted freshman class, this would be the year the Cats finally earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Despite early-season adversity, NU stormed out of the gate, winning the Chicago Invitational and plowing through the rest of its nonconfer-

ence schedule on its way to a No. 25 national ranking. Nothing makes promoting a team easier than saying it is “nationally ranked” and when its performance on the floor speaks for itself. Though NU is 3-4 to start Big Ten play, it has taken on some of the conference’s best and hung with them. The Cats could have easily faltered after starting 0-2 in the Big Ten, but behind their newfound crowd boost at home, they knocked off then-No. 6 Purdue and now Illinois, and they nearly toppled then-No. 13 Wisconsin. NU has 11 Big Ten games remaining on its schedule. Five of those games are at home against teams in the bottom half of the conference rankings. If the fans were able to help the Cats against ranked foes in Welsh-Ryan, they should be able to do the same when NU faces teams it expects to beat. The fan support will have to be put on hold, as the Cats travel to Minnesota and Michigan State this week. But once midterms are done, I expect the NU faithful to be out in full force, helping the Cats boost their tournament résumé. Then, perhaps when the brackets are announced, Digger can have something insightful to say about the Cats, and NU can finally be called an actual basketball school. Sports editor Brian Chappatta is a Medill junior. He can be reached at brianchappatta2011@u.northwestern.edu.

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