January 23, 1999
EVANSTON, Ill. - Evan Eschmeyer scored 18 points and added eight rebounds while the Northwestern defense held Texas Pan-American to just 26.4 percent shooting from the floor as the Wildcats defeated the Broncs on Saturday night, 76-47. NU improves to 11-5 overall while UTPA drops to 3-16.
The Wildcats controlled the game throughout, leading by as much as 20 points in the first half (33-13) before taking a 37-21 lead into the locker room. The lead steadily increased throughout the second half, reaching as high as 32 points (76-44) with 2:33 remaining.
In addition to Eschmeyer, Sean Wink hit three three-pointers en route to an 11-point, four-assist performance. David Newman had nine points and four assists while Julian Bonner added eight points, seven rebounds and four assists. The Wildcats also received excellent play from the bench, led by junior center Aron Molnar, who posted a season-best nine points in addition to four rebounds. Steve Lepore poured in eight points while Danny Allouche tied his season high of seven points in addition to three assists.
The 'Cats defense held UTPA's Brian Merriweather, who entered the game as the nation's leading scorer with 25.3 points per game, to just 14 points on 5-of-23 shooting. This marks the first time since 1982-83, and just the fourth time since the 'Cats won the Big Ten in 1933, that Northwestern has opened a season 11-5 overall.
The Wildcats host 14th-ranked Purdue on Wed., Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. CST. Tickets are still available and can be purchased through the Wildcat ticket office at (847) 491-CATS.
Texas Pan American Head Coach Delray Brooks' opening comments:
"I want to apologize to Coach O'Neill and his basketball team for giving them the day off. Our team didn't show up, didn't give the effort. They (Northwestern) played well because they played hard."
Brooks on Brian Merriweather's performance:
"Merriweather did a pretty good job on himself. Everyone knows who he is now. Hopefully he'll start to develop into a more complete player."
Brooks on the Big Ten Conference:
"From top to bottom, it may be the best conference in the country. On any given night anyone can beat anyone."
Northwestern Head Coach Kevin O'Neill's opening comments:
"I didn't think we played particularly well in the first half, but we did a great job of finishing up. Julian (Bonner) did a good job on Merriweather."
O'Neill on his freshman point guard David Newman:
"I particularly like the way David Newman is playing right now. After probably his worst game of the season against Wisconsin, he's come back and played his best two games."
O'Neill on the remainder of the season:
"We have 11 wins and 10 regular season games left and then the Big Ten Tournament. We have our destiny in our hands. We have tough basketball games left, but the next game is the only game we're going to think about. Our focus is going to be on taking games one at a time."