NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS

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    Feb. 9, 1998

    Northwestern Plays Wisconsin

    Wildcats Enter Game at 8-12 Overall

    Northwestern (8-12; 1-9 Big Ten) vs.
    Wisconsin (10-13; 3-8)

    Wed., Feb. 11, 1998 * 7 p.m.
    Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
    Radio: WGN Radio
    TV: ESPN Plus

    NU's Possible Starting Lineup
    No.                                 ppg     rpg
    5   Joe Harmsen (F, 6-9, Jr.)       4.6     3.3
    13  Joe Branch (F, 6-3, Sr.)        2.4     3.3
    42  Evan Eschmeyer (C, 6-11, Sr.)   22.3    11.3
    4   Julian Bonner (G, 6-1, Jr.)     9.7     3.2
    22  Sean Wink (G, 6-2, Fr.)         12.3    2.2
    Off The Bench
    No.                                 ppg     rpg
    35  Aron Molnar (F, 6-11, So.)      5.2     3.2
    31  Nate Pomeday (G, 6-2, Jr.)      3.8     1.2
    23  Napoleon Harris (F, 6-4, Fr.)   2.4     3.4
    32  Terence Avery (F, 6-9, Fr.)     2.1     1.2
    44  Jeff Eschmeyer (F, 6-4, Fr.)    0.3     1.2
    10  Matt Kammrath (G, 6-1, So.)     0.0     0.1

    Scouting Northwestern: The Wildcats enter tonight's game with an 8-12 overall record and a 1-9 mark in Big Ten play. NU dropped a heartbreaker in overtime to Penn State, 69-68, on Sunday. All-America candidate Evan Eschmeyer scored a career-high 37 points in the NU effort. With that performance, he set a Welsh-Ryan Arena record in points (37) and an Arena and school record in free throws made (17) and attempted (22). Junior Joe Harmsen also chipped in 11 points and tied his career-high 10 rebounds.

    NU battled back from a six-point halftime deficit (31-25)to tie the game at the 17:46 mark (31-31). The remainder of the game was tight with three lead changes and nine ties. With the 'Cats up by three points (58-55) with 2:05 remaining, PSU's Jarrett Stephens converted one of two free throws and a layup to send the game into overtime. In overtime, PSU's Joe Crispin hit a jumper with :31 remaining to give the Nittany Lions a one-point lead and the eventual win. NU had one last chance with 2.9 seconds remaining, but Eschmeyer's shot in the lane was blocked.

    Eschmeyer leads the Big Ten Conference in overall scoring (22.3 ppg), rebounding (11.3 rpg) and is second in field goal percentage (.631). Freshman Sean Wink is second on the NU team in scoring (12.3 ppg), while junior Julian Bonner is third in points per game (9.7 ppg) and first in assists (4.1 apg).

    Four of the 'Cats losses have been determined by the last possession of the game (Siena, Boston College, Michigan State, Penn State).

    NU has lost two of its last three games in overtime.

    Scouting Wisconsin: The Badgers enter tonight's game with a 10-13 overall record and a 3-8 mark in Big Ten action. Wisconsin has lost its last six games, including a 53-47 overtime loss to Illinois last Saturday. Sean Daugherty led the Badger effort in that game with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Sean Mason leads the team in scoring with a 14.8 ppg average. Mason has led the Badgers in scoring in 12 games. Daugherty is second in scoring (10.2 ppg) and the team leader in rebounding (5.9 rpg).

    NU/Wisconsin, The Series: Tonight marks the 147th meeting between Northwestern and Wisconsin, with the Badgers holding a 90-56 series lead. UW won the first meeting this season, 56-33, at the new Kohl Center in Madison on Jan. 22. Evan Eschmeyer led the 'Cats with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Down 23-18 at half, the 'Cats battled back to within two points, 28-26, with 13:51 remaining. However, NU would get no closer and the Badgers coasted to victory. Sean Mason scored a game-high 18 points in the UW win.

    Wisconsin Series Notes
    Series Record:              UW leads, 90-56
    First Meeting:              1910, Wisconsin won, 55-9
    Last NU win in Evanston:    62-52, 1996
    Last UW win in Evanston:    56-44, 1997
    Current Series Streak:      UW, three games

    Head Coach Kevin O'Neill: Kevin O'Neill is in his first season as head coach of the Wildcat basketball program.

    Tabbed as one of the nation's top recruiters, O'Neill came to NU from Tennessee where he was at the helm of the Volunteer program for three seasons. He inherited a program which won only five games the previous campaign, and took them to the NIT two seasons later. Prior to his stint in Knoxville, O'Neill was the head coach at Marquette for five years. The two-time Great Midwest Conference Coach of the Year, O'Neill guided the Golden Eagles to an NIT appearance and two NCAA Tournament berths. He left Milwaukee with an impressive mark of four winning campaigns in five years and a Great Midwest Conference championship in 1994. In addition, his last two teams compiled a remarkable 44-17 record, while leading the nation in field goal percentage defense.

    Overall, O'Neill has a 148-132 record in nine seasons.

    Evan Eschmeyer is only one of two players in division one (the other being Antawn Jamison, North Carolina) to be ranked in the top 25 in scoring (22.3 ppg), rebounding (11.3 rpg) and field goal percentage (.631).

    All-America candidate Evan Eschmeyer is one of only seven NU players to have scored more than 1,000 points (1,098) and grabbed more than 600 rebounds. (639).