Jan. 11, 2011
Northwestern (10-4, 1-3 Big Ten) at Iowa (7-8, 0-3)
Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
Carver-Hawkeye Arena (15,500)
Iowa City, Iowa 7:30 p.m.
TV: Big Ten Network (Eric Collins and Kenyon Murray)
Audio: WIND 560 AM and wgnradio.com (Dave Eanet and Tim Doyle)
In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Northwestern Game Notes (PDF)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern continues its opening stretch to the Big Ten season during which it plays four of its first six games on the road Wednesday as it travels to Iowa. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Wildcats also play a road game at Michigan State on Saturday.
NU picked up its first conference win of the season on Sunday as it posted a 93-81 home win over Indiana. John Shurna scored a game-high 24 points, while Luka Mirkovic had a double-double with a career-high 20 points to go along with 12 rebounds. The 93 points were the most by Northwestern in a Big Ten game since a 97-93 overtime win over No. 8 Michigan March 12, 1994.
Last season: Northwestern and Iowa split their season series a year ago. The Hawkeyes won 78-65 Feb. 10 in Iowa City despite 20 points by Michael Thompson.The Wildcats earned a season split with a 74-57 win in Evanston Feb. 25 behind 29 points by John Shurna.
Shurna Selected to Wooden Award Midseason Top 30
The Hawkeyes (7-8, 0-3) are still in search of their first Big Ten win after dropping a 75-52 decision at Purdue on Sunday. Matt Gatens led Iowa with 13 points.
Gatens is tops on the team with an average of 12.7 points per game while ranking first in the Big Ten with a .895 free throw percentage. Melsahn Basabe paces the Hawkeyes with an average of 6.3 rebounds per game.
Fran McCaffery is in his first season as the head coach at Iowa after previously leading Siena. He has a career record of 258-85 in 15 overall seasons.
is one of 30 individuals named to the midseason top 30 list for the Wooden Award which is presented to the nation's top college basketball player. He is one of six Big Ten players on the list, joining Purdue's E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, Illinois' Demetri McCamey, Wisconsin's Jon Leuer and Ohio State's Jared Sullinger. Shurna was also named to the preseason watch list for the Naismith Award which is a similar honor.
Climbing the Charts
Senior point guard Michael Thompson has the opportunity to have a memorable night Wednesday. The ironman enters the contest with 3,873 minutes played in his career, 12 shy of the Northwestern record of 3,885 held by Jim Stack (1979-83). In addition, Thompson currently has 1,345 career points, two shy of moving into 10th place in Northwestern history. He started the season in 21st place. The Chicago native also comes into the game with 444 career assists, eight shy of the top spot all-time at NU held by Patrick Baldwin (1991-94). He became the second player in NU history to post 400 career assists when he reached the milestone Nov. 30 in a win over Georgia Tech.
For the second consecutive season, Northwestern started its campaign with at least nine wins in its first 11 games. A year ago, NU opened 10-1 en route to earning a No. 25 national ranking. Prior to last season, the Wildcats last posted nine wins in their first 11 contests in the 1993-94 campaign. This year's team matched last year's squad which also notched a school-record five wins (5-1) in the month of November. The 2010-11 'Cats finished the program's first undefeated November when playing at least three games.
Northwestern has long been known for its accurate 3-point shooting. The Wildcats rank among the league leaders with a .394 3-point percentage this season. NU is also 12th nationally with an average of 9.3 made 3-pointers per game. Individually, John Shurna is second in the nation with a .580 3-point percentage. Wake Forest's Gary Clark (.636) ranks first in the category, but has attempted just 44 3-point attempts, compared to 69 for Shurna. Shurna's 10-for-11 performance overall from the field in a win over Long Island Dec. 13 ranks as a tie for the second-best effort in program history.
Northwestern is well known for playing "team" offense and that's reflected in the statistics. The Wildcats are second in the Big Ten and rank 11th in the nation with an average of 17.9 assists per game. NU's assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.68 (251 assists, 149 turnovers) is the nation's third best mark. The 'Cats are also third nationally with an average of only 10.6 turnovers per game.
A Grand Performance
John Shurna became the 30th player in Northwestern history to reach the 1,000 career point milestone when he scored his 16th point of the game with 8:24 remaining in the first half against American Dec. 16. He became the 17th player to do it in only three seasons. Senior point guard Michael Thompson also reached the mark in his third season. Shurna ranks second in the Big Ten and 21st in the nation with an average of 20.4 points per game.
A year after shattering the school season record with 317 3-point makes, the Wildcats have picked up right where they left off. NU leads the Big Ten and is 12th nationally with an average of 9.3 3-point makes per game this season. John Shurna ranks second among all Big Ten players with an average of 2.9 triples per contest.
A year after leading the Big Ten in scoring during conference play, Northwestern is putting a number of points on the board again this year. The Wildcats currently rank third in the Big Ten with an average of 77.0 points per game. NU has scored over 90 points in a game four times this season, marking the first time it has posted multiple 90-plus point games since the 1993-94 campaign when it also reached the mark four times. Northwestern had scored 90 points in a game just twice in Bill Carmody's first 10 seasons as head coach.
Scoring Spree, Part 2
Northwestern's 93-81 victory over Indiana Jan. 9 marked the team's most points in a Big Ten game since a 97-93 overtime win over No. 8 Michigan on March 12, 1994. Northwestern's 97 points in its season-opener at Northern Illinois Nov. 12 marked its highest total in the 11-year Bill Carmody era and was its most since that same Michigan game. It was also the Wildcats' most points in a true road game since a 98-77 victory at Valparaiso Dec. 9, 1975.
It's a rare thing when Michael Thompson isn't on the court for Northwestern. Last season, he ranked fourth in the nation with an average of 37.7 minutes played per game. His average of 36.3 minutes per game this season ranks second in the Big Ten. Thompson has started all 109 games during his career as a Wildcat.
Northwestern remains on the road Saturday as it wraps up its season series with Michigan State.
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