Wildcats claw back, but Hoosiers prevail

By Nader Ihmoud

The Northwestern University Wildcats were knocked in the mouth early by the No. 2 ranked Indiana University Hoosiers on Jan. 20. Although the Wildcats did not lose their spirit, the team ultimately lost 67–57 at Welsh Ryan Arena.

The Hoosiers built a 14-point lead, restricted the Wildcats to a dismal 30 percent shooting and only allowed them to make 1 of 9 three-point field goal attempts during the first half. Although Northwestern once trailed by 17, the Wildcats fought back with more than two minutes remaining and cut the lead to 5 points  before falling to 6–7 at home this season and 2–4 against Big Ten opponents.

“Offensively we didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half,” said Wildcats Head Coach Bill Carmody. “I thought early on we got some very good looks and we didn’t make them.”

After being limited to only 17 points in the first half, the Wildcats were able to score 42 points and shoot 50 percent from the field to end the game. Carmody, who has not been pleased with his team’s offensive efficiency this season, said the Wildcats are improving on that end of the floor.

“I think we’re figuring it out offensively,” he said.

Indiana’s Center Cory Zeller proved a difficult opponent for the Wildcats, scoring a team-high of 21 points and grabbing a game-high of 13 rebounds. Following his Jan. 20 performance, he is ranked second in the Big Ten with 5 double-doubles this season. Zeller, who averages 2.7 offensive rebounds per game, grabbed four in the win against the Wildcats.

According to Carmody, the Wildcats played well on the defensive end, but he was disappointed with the number of second chance opportunities his players gave the Hoosiers. He said securing the rebound is a part of playing defense. Indiana scored 11 second chance points.

The Wildcats allowed 7 offensive rebounds and were out-rebounded 22–11 during the first 20 minutes of the game. Their centers, Alex Olah and Mike Turner, combined for only 1 rebound the entire game.

“That’s scary,” Carmody said. “Say they played 35 minutes and get only 1 rebound; that’s just not acceptable, but I think we’re defending a lot better.”

Wildcats Senior Guard Reggie Hearn was one point shy of his career high. He scored 22 points during the team’s Jan. 20 loss to the Indiana University Hoosiers. Northwestern will regroup and prepare for their second meeting of the season against the University of Minnesota Gophers at Welsh Ryan Arena on Jan. 23.[kml_flashembed publishmethod=”dynamic” fversion=”10.1.8276″ useexpressinstall=”true” movie=”https://columbiachronicle.com/soundslides/NUvIND_publish_to_web/soundslider.swf” width=”500″ height=”440″ targetclass=”flashmovie”]