Jan. 29, 2005
Carmody/Matta Quotes in PDF Format
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EVANSTON, Ill. - Wednesday night, the Northwestern men's basketball team used an incredible comeback to earn a victory against Iowa at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
On Saturday, the tables were turned on the Wildcats.
NU was up, 51-43, and had the ball with 6:20 left in regulation, thanks to a 16-4 run. However, a Wildcat pass was picked off by Ohio State's Jamar Butler and led to a layup.
The momentum shifted dramatically after that play.
In fact, Ohio State (14-7, 3-4) would go on to score 22 of the game's final 23 points, with the only NU point coming on a free throw from T.J. Parker after the Buckeyes had already taken a 55-51 lead. The result was a 65-52 win for OSU.
Northwestern fell to 9-10 (2-5 Big Ten) with the loss.
"We probably should not have won against Iowa, but this afternoon's game we could have won," said NU head coach Bill Carmody. "The turnovers were vital. We had the lead, at home, and we were up eight. It all went downhill from there. They got a lift; give them credit. Our defense just went away."
The final Ohio State run marred what had been another stellar NU performance to that point.
After a sloppy first half by both teams ended with the Buckeyes up, 29-27, Ohio State quickly went up by five points in the second stanza. Northwestern finally made its run to the lead with 13 minutes to play, thanks to six consecutive points by Vedran Vukusic. He knocked down a free throw, hit a long three-pointer, then gave NU its first lead of the day at 41-39 with another jumper.
Matt Sylvester tied the game with a layup, but Davor Duvancic sandwiched a pair of layups around a Michael Jenkins three-pointer to make the score 48-41. J.J. Sullinger hit a pair of free throws, but Vukusic countered with a conventional three-point play that put NU's lead at 51-43.
Unfortunately, that only set the stage for Ohio State's comeback.
"It was hard to see it end that way," said Carmody. "I did not know what more we could have done to make it work. Ohio State came to life in the last seven minutes. Our offense just petered away.
"We are lacking the zest that is needed to win," he continued. "The opportunity is there. It was a hard game to lose. I mean, it was still a one-point game with five minutes to go. I don't have an answer."
Vukusic led NU with 15 points, following up his career-high 32-point night vs. Iowa by going 6-of-9 from the floor Saturday. Fellow Croatian Davor Duvancic was the only other Wildcat player in double figures; he scored 14 points.
Sullinger had 15 points to lead Ohio State, while Sylvester scored 12. Butler and Tony Stockman scored 10 points apiece, as the Buckeyes -- who entered the game leading the Big Ten in three-pointers made per game -- overcame a 4-of-18 performance from beyond the arc.
NU was not much better -- in fact, the 'Cats were worse. They came into the contest leading the Big Ten in conference field goal and three-point FG percentage, but shot 41.7 percent overall and just 17.6 percent (3-of-17) from three-point land.
Northwestern is next in action Wednesday, traveling to Wisconsin to meet the Badgers. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Kohl Center.