Dec. 21, 2006
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- For the fourth straight game, red-hot freshman Kevin Coble led four Northwestern players in double figures with 22 points as the Wildcats put on a clinic, dominating Utah, 77-44, in Thursday's fifth-place game of the 2006 San Juan Shootout. Northwestern finishes the tournament 2-1 and improves to 8-3 on the season -- its best record since starting 8-3 in 2002.
The 33-point victory represented Utah's worst loss in 18 years -- the Utes suffered a 42-point loss to Purdue in 1988.
Coble, who was named to the all-tournament team, was 8-of-11 from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from behind the arc. Northwestern set a school record by shooting 73.3 percent (minimum 10 attempts) from 3-point range, going 11-of-15 overall. It was also the best three-point shooting performance by an opponent vs. Utah. The 'Cats shot 69.2 percent overall from the field -- the highest shooting percentage in the Bill Carmody-era and just missed the school record of 70.2 percent set back in 1998.
Tim Doyle had his way inside, displaying his patented repertoire of head fakes, up-and-unders and no-look passes. He finished with a season-high 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Fellow senior Vince Scott, meanwhile, scored all 13 of his points in the second half after picking up two quick fouls to start the game.
The Wildcats opened a 5-0 lead to start things off, but Utah, a perennial NCAA postseason tourney qualifier, came right back with six straight to take the lead. But that was the only lead the Utes would enjoy all day as the Wildcats reeled off a 16-4 run to open an 11-point lead midway through the first half.
The 'Cats led by as much as 14 late in the first when Jeff Ryan drove the lane from the top of the key for a layup, but a 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer by Utah's Stephen Weigh cut NU's lead to 41-30 at the half.
Northwestern was 16-of-21 (.762) from the field in the first half and a perfect 6-of-6 from three -- five of those coming from Coble.
The second half was more of the same, as the 'Cats kept their foot on the gas pedal for the final 20 minutes -- holding Utah to just 14 second half points, equaling Utah's second-lowest point total in a half since 1990. NU opened the half with a 13-5 run over the first seven minutes, highlighted by 10 points from Scott who hit two three's and two layups during the run for a 19-point advantage.
Even with the big lead, Northwestern never let up. After a Utah field goal cut the lead to 17, Northwestern hit the Utes with another devastating 14-2 run, opening up a 31-point advantage with 4:59 left to put the game away.
Scott and Ivan Tolic put the clamps on Utah's 7-1 center Luke Nevill (19.6 ppg), holding him to nine points and only six shot attempts. Johnnie Bryant, who came in averaging 16.5 ppg, was held to three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
Craig Moore rounded out the double-digit scorers for Northwestern, hitting 3-of-4 from downtown for 11 points and three assists.
Northwestern returns home Dec. 27 against Loyola (Md.). Game time is 7 p.m. CT.
The Wildcats shot a school record 73.3 percent from behind the arc (11-of-15) -- minimum 10 attempts.
The 69.2 percent shooting for the game was the best shooting percentage since the Wildcats shot 70.2 percent back in 1998 against Troy State.
Kevin Coble and Vince Scott were a perfect 5-of-5 and 3-of-3, respectively, from behind the arc, marking the 14th and 15th times an individual has been perfect from 3-point range in the Carmody era.
Northwestern outrebounded Utah 22-20 and forced 18 turnovers.
Over the last five games, freshman Kevin Coble is averaging 19.6 ppg, shooting 56.0 percent from the field and 48.1 percent from behind the arc.
The 33-point win was the largest margin of victory since defeating Northern Colorado last season 82-47 (35 points).
Jason Okrzesik was held scoreless off the bench, but came through with four assists and four steals in 20 minutes of action.
Freshman Jeremy Nash scored a season-best six points off the bench.
The Northwestern defense held Utah to 28 points under its season scoring average of 72 points and held the Utes to 28.0 percent shooting from long range. NU held Utah to 14 second-half points, which equals the Utes' second-lowest point total in a half since 1990.
The 2006 San Juan Shootout Final Results and All-Tournament Team
Co-MVP's-D.J. Thompson & Donte Mintner (Appalachian State)
J.R. Reynolds (Virginia)
Diego Garcia (UPR-Mayaguez)
Kevin Coble (Northwestern)
Luke Nevill (Utah)
Nathan Cranford (Appalachian State)
Belton Rivers (Tennessee Tech)
Mike O'Donnell (Central Florida)
Dan Cage (Vanderbilt)
Derrick Byers (Vanderbilt)