Jan. 19, 2011
Northwestern (12-5) vs. SIU Edwardsville (5-15)
Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011
Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
Evanston, Ill. 5:30 p.m.
Streaming Video: BigTenNetwork.com
Audio: 720 AM WGN and wgnradio.com (Dave Eanet and Shon Morris)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 126 and XM 196
In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Northwestern Game Notes (PDF)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern takes a break from Big Ten play Thursday as it hosts SIU Edwardsville at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tip is set for 5:30 p.m. with the game preceding a contest between the NU women's team and Michigan.
The contest is the second for the Wildcats during a stretch in which they play five out of six games a home.
NU has won three of its last four Big Ten games, including a 74-60 home victory over Michigan on Tuesday night. John Shurna led the way, scoring 22 of his 24 points in the first half. It marked the 10th time this season that Shurna has tallied 20 or more points in a game. Luka Mirkovic matched Shurna's eight rebounds and added 13 points.
Northwestern is a perfect 11-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points and 1-5 when it doesn't. The Wildcats rank second in the Big Ten with an average of 77.0 points per game.
Series history: Northwestern leads, 3-0. The teams haven't met since Dec. 1, 1982 when the Wildcats earned a 70-31 win at DePaul's Alumni Hall.
Scouting SIU Edwardsville
Setting the Standard
The Cougars (5-15) are coming off a 70-50 home loss to Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday night. Cornelius Chatt led SIUE with 13 points.
Corey Wickware is the team's leading scorer, averaging 12.3 points per game. SIUE has faced already faced two Big Ten teams this season, falling 111-50 at Iowa Nov. 26 and 88-54 at Indiana Dec. 17.
The Cougars are in the third year of the their four-year transition from Division II to Division I.
Lennox Forrester has a 37-69 record in four seasons as the head coach at SIUE.
With a victory Thursday night, this year's senior class can match last year's class for the Northwestern record for most victories by one class of 58. The 37 combined wins by the Wildcats over the previous two seasons are a school record for back-to-back campaigns.
Shurna Selected to Wooden Award Midseason Top 30
John Shurna 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 currently has 1,387 career points, ranking him ninth in Northwestern history. He started the season in 21st place. The Chicago native also has 461 career assists. He surpassed Patrick Baldwin (1991-94) for first place in school history Jan. 15 at Michigan State. Thompson 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. He also ranks second all-time at Northwestern with 222 3-point field goals.
It's a rare thing when Michael Thompson isn't on the court for Northwestern. On Jan. 12 at Iowa, he became the school's all-time leader in minutes played, surpassing Jim Stack (1979-83). He enters Thursday's game eight minutes shy of 4,000 for his career. Last season, Thompson ranked fourth in the nation with an average of 37.7 minutes played per game. His average of 36.9 minutes per game this season ranks second in the Big Ten. Thompson has started all 112 games during his career as a Wildcat.
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 22nd in the nation with a .398 3-point percentage this season. NU is also eighth nationally with an average of 9.4 made 3-pointers per game. Individually, John Shurna is recognized by the NCAA as the nation's leader with a .548 3-point percentage. 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 lead the Big Ten and rank eighth in the nation with an average of 17.9 assists per game. NU's assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.66 (305 assists, 184 turnovers) is the nation's fifth-best mark. The 'Cats are also 10th nationally with an average of only 10.8 turnovers 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 eighth nationally with an average of 9.4 3-point makes per game this season. John Shurna ranks third among all Big Ten players with an average of 2.7 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 second in the Big Ten with an average of 77.0 points per game. NU has scored over 90 points in a game five times this season, the most since the 1988-89 campaign when it also reached the mark five times. Northwestern had scored 90 points in a game just twice in Bill Carmody's first 10 seasons as head coach.
Northwestern returns to conference play Sunday as it hosts Wisconsin. Tip time is set for 11:30 a.m., a change from the previously published noon start.
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