Wildcats bounce back against Wolverines

By Etheria Modacure

The Northwestern Wildcats wasted no time scoring against the University of Michigan Wolverines on Jan. 18 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. After losing to Michigan State University in overtime on Jan. 15, the Wildcats (12-5, 3-4) were able to bounce back with a 74-60 victory over Michigan (11-8, 1-5) on Jan. 18.

Guard John Shurna led all scorers with 24 points, with 22 scored in the first half. He shot 8-of-14 from the field and collected eight rebounds. This came after Shurna scored six points against the Spartans on Jan. 15.

With Shurna playing with a sprained left ankle, Wildcats Head Coach Bill Carmody said it was good to see him getting rebounds and making shot attempts throughout the game.

“I was most impressed that he got eight rebounds,” Carmody said. “In the last three games he probably hasn’t had eight rebounds total.”

The Wildcats started the game with two quick 3-pointers by guard Drew Crawford, which Carmody said sparked the team in the first half.

Northwestern made four 3-point shot attempts in less than seven minutes of game play, which helped them jump out to an early 18-10 lead.

The Wolverines shot well from behind the arc in the early stages of the first half when they made four of their first four 3-point shot attempts. Afterward, the Wildcats defense began to limit their opportunities and forced a Michigan team that started four guards to make shots in the paint. The Wolverines scored 30 of its 64 points inside the post.

Michigan finished shooting at 33.3 percent from 3-point range for the game and shot only 39.7 percent from the field. The Wolverines never led the Wildcats.

“Early, [the Wolverines] had four 3-pointers in the first 12 minutes,” Carmody said. “It’s hard even when you practice it not to go help a guy [on defense]- but then you have some guys who can make shots on that team.”

Carmody said he preferred Wolverines guard Darius Morris, who scored 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting, to get to the basket than having his teammates make shots from the perimeter. Morris and guard Stu Douglass, 17 points, were the only Wolverines who scored in double figures.

Shurna gave credit to Carmody who emphasized pushing the ball up the court in transition, which led to getting easy shot attempts in the first half.

With both Shurna and forward Luka Mirkavic getting eight rebounds, Shurna said it was good to see a team effort against the Wolverines.

“When we’ve been rebounding well, we’ve been staying in games,” Shurna said. “Luka [Mirkavic] has been huge for us. If one of our [players] can go out and get rebounds, it helps us as a team.”