Dec. 14, 2005
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EVANSTON, Ill. - Vedran Vukusic once again led the Wildcats with 23 points, but it wasn't enough as the Northwestern men's basketball team (4-4) fell to its crosstown rival UIC 71-62 Wednesday night in Evanston.
Justin Bowen scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half to help UIC improve to 5-4 on the season.
The Wildcats quickly erased a seven-point halftime deficit, but Bowen hit eight of nine shots in the second half as UIC ended the game on a 20-9 run. Bowen went 9-of-14 from the field and finished with 11 rebounds. He scored two points in the first half on 1-of-5 shooting.
"Justin played really well and played under some difficult circumstances," UIC head coach Jimmy Collins said. "He's been having some back spasms and his back has really been hurting."
Northwestern (4-4) tied it at 51-51, but Othys Jeffers dunked home a Jovan Stefanov miss to give the Flames the lead and start a 10-3 run that made it 61-54 after four straight points from Bowen.
Northwestern made it 63-60 on a Vedran Vukusic 3-pointer, but Flames center Elliott Poole hit one of two free throws and then UIC point guard Josh Mayo hit six straight free throws after getting fouled with 17 seconds to play, thanks to a double-technical foul on Northwestern coach Bill Carmody, who was thrown out of the game.
Vukusic had a game-high 23 points, just under his Big Ten-leading average, and Mohamad Hachad scored 12 points, all in the second half.
The Flames defeated their third major conference opponent, after defeating Georgia Tech and Ole Miss.
Mayo had 12 points. Jeffers and Poole added 11.
Northwestern lost to their area rivals for the third straight time. The Wildcats struggled mightily against the UIC zone in the first half, hitting just 7-of-24 shots. They missed their first 10 three-pointers. Northwestern did hit 17-of-31 shots in the second half, but were held to 4-of-23 shooting (17.4 percent) from behind the arc for the game.
"I didn't think they were the best shots to take," NU head coach Bill Carmody
said. "Coté, his second shot from the top of the key looked a bit rushed. Then Vukusic had a three from the top that they tipped. Some of those other three's were pretty open, we just missed badly. They weren't always uncontested shots, but their defense was pretty decent. They weren't always guarding us closely, and that's good coaching because they knew we couldn't make shots."
Post Game Notes
Northwestern scored 43 points in the second half, the most points in a half this season.
Tim Doyle recorded a career-high seven assists and tied a personal best with three steals.
Vedran Vukusic eclipsed the 20-point mark for the seventh time this season. He scored 23 points and hit 6-of-7 from the line.
With 12 points against the Flames, Mohamed Hachad has now scored 29 points in the last two games after scoring just 14 in the three previous games.
Northwestern lost for the first time this year when scoring 60 or more points (4-1).
UIC won the battle on the boards, 36-30, and had 18 second chance points.
UIC shot 63 percent (15-of-24) in the second half.