Nov. 21, 2005
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EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - Vedran Vukusic scored 27 points and Tim Doyle added 13 points and six assists to lead Northwestern to a 69-59 victory over Florida Atlantic on Monday night.
Northwestern (3-1) never trailed and jumped out to a 14-3 lead. Vukusic scored eight points in that spurt and had 14 by halftime to give Northwestern a 36-23 lead.
DeAndre Rice led Florida Atlantic (0-2) with 19 points. Derrick Simmons added 12.
Northwestern's largest lead, 44-25, came with 16:53 left in the second half after Vukusic found Doyle for a backdoor layup.
Florida Atlantic cut the lead to 58-54 with 1:17 left on Simmons' reverse layup, but Vukusic answered with a three-point play with 56 seconds left, giving the Wildcats a 61-54 lead.
Vince Scott added seven points and nine rebounds for Northwestern. Wildcats center Michael Thompson, who started the first three games, did not play because of an illness.
Northwestern shot 57.7 percent in the first half and outrebounded Florida Atlantic 23-8.
The loss left Florida Atlantic's Matt Doherty winless in his return to college coaching. Doherty hadn't coached since being forced to resign at North Carolina after the 2002-03 season.
Postgame Notes & Quotes:Northwestern improves to 3-1 for the first time since 2002 when they started 8-3.
Head coach Bill Carmody is now 5-1 in home openers at Northwestern while the Wildcats improve to 75-26 all-time.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 43-17 (.716) at Welsh-Ryan Arena in the past four-plus seasons.
Northwestern has held all four of its opponents to under 60 points this season.
Senior forward Vedran Vukusic led the way with a game-high 27 points. He has recorded at least 23 points in his first four games -- 103 points (25.8 ppg). Vukusic was 9-of-12 (.750) from the field and 8-of-11 from the line.
With his 27 points, Vukusic moves up two spots into 16th place on the Northwestern all-time scoring list with 1,151 points, passing Frank Ehmann (1,145) and Brian Schwabe (1,150).
Tim Doyle again tied his career-best with six assists to go along with his 13 points.
Vince Scott set a career-high with nine rebounds.
Craig Moore and Sterling Williams both recorded their first points in a Wildcat uniform. Moore finished with nine and Williams four.
The 'Cats outscored FAU 42-30 inside and 24-15 in points off turnovers.
Tonight's meeting was the first between FAU and Northwestern.
Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody
On FAU's comeback in the second half:
"You have to give credit to Florida Atlantic. They worked their tails off to get back in the game. They didn't quit, they hung in there and played the way I wish my team would have played. You have to give their team and their staff a lot of credit. They made a game of it after my guys thought it was over."
On NU's shooting:
"They came out in a zone and that bothered us. We were 0-for-10 from three-point range in the second half. It all comes down to shooting. We didn't make our three's, we didn't make our foul shots and we were fortunate that they didn't make a lot of their open looks either."
On the play of his bench:
"They gave us a good lift in the first half. I thought they played pretty well. But Craig didn't shoot the ball that well in the second half and Sterling (Williams) missed a couple of foul shots so I had to get him out of there. We need more guys to start stepping up for us out there."
Florida Atlantic head coach Matt Doherty
"It's always a fun challenge as a coach to face a coach like Bill Carmody, with his background and
the Princeton offense. It's always fun to watch -- it's not always fun to coach against -- but it's
a beautiful thing to watch. We did not do a good job of guarding it in the first half. We did not
take advantage of one area where we thought we had the biggest advantage -- quickness on the perimeter.
I put our team in a bad position in the first half by not acknowledging that before the game. We made
some adjustments by going to a zone in the second half and clearing out the post area so we could
reverse the ball and drive a bit more. That helped us a great deal, as did the fact that (Vedran)
Vukusic was in foul trouble."
On his team's effort:
"All a coach really ever asks is that his team play hard, which we did. You want to play smart -- which I didn't do -- and you want to play together. So if you do
those things, sometimes the ball goes in and sometimes it doesn't go in. There may be discrepancies
with talent, but I thought our team played hard. The second half we played smart and we played
together. That's all I can ask for. Our team has shown a lot of character in our two games. Against
Colgate we were down 14 at half and came back and lost by four. Today we were down 13 at half against
a Big Ten opponent and came back to cut it to three. So I was proud of our effort. We made it a ballgame.