March 7, 2008
NU Game Notes vs. Wisconsin
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Northwestern closes out its regular season Saturday afternoon as it hosts Big Ten leader and 10th-ranked Wisconsin at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. with Big Ten Network providing live television coverage. Matt Devlin and Trent Tucker will have the call.
The game can also be heard on WGN Radio (720 AM) with Dave Eanet and Bob Hildebrand.
Northwestern will honor three individuals in Senior Day ceremonies prior to the start of the contest: Jason Okrzesik, Jean-Marc Melchior, and Tonjua Jones.
Series History: Wisconsin leads, 105-60
Last Meeting: Northwestern trailed by only two at the half, but Wisconsin used an early second-half run en route to a 62-50 victory Jan. 19 in Madison. Michael Thompson led the Wildcats with 16 points, while Marcus Landry had 21 for the Badgers.
Last Time Out
Northwestern nearly returned the favor to Iowa. Two weeks after the Hawkeyes rallied back from a 14-point second-half deficit to earn a two-point victory in Iowa City, the Wildcats cut a late 13-point deficit to one on four occasions but was unable to get over the hump in falling 67-62 Tuesday evening at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Iowa surged out to a 28-11 lead in the first half and was still up 13 with six minutes to go before Northwestern used a 12-0 run to get within a single point. Jeremy Nash's third steal of the game with one minute left gave the Wildcats the chance to take the lead, but Michael Thompson's pull-up jumper from 10 feet came up just short. Seth Gorney made four free throws in the final 14 seconds to seal the win for the Hawkeyes. Kevin Coble led Northwestern with 15 points, while Thompson added 14.
A trio of Wildcats will be honored prior to the start of the game. Jason Okrzesik, a native of Itasca, Ill., enters the contest with 58 appearances in his two seasons with the Wildcats. An outstanding shooter, Okrzesik has hit 53 of 62 career free throw attempts (.855) at NU. Tonjua Jones, a Southfield, Mich., native, is a relative newcomer to the basketball program, joining the Wildcats this year after four years as a member of the Northwestern football team. Jones has appeared in six contests. Jean-Marc Melchior, a native of Contern, Luxembourg, has been in a Wildcat uniform for the past three seasons, but has already earned enough credits to graduate this spring. He has seen action in 31 career games, including 14 this year.
Wisconsin (25-4, 15-2) clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title Wednesday evening with its convincing 77-41 victory over Penn State. Marcus Landry led the Badgers with 15 points, while Michael Flowers contributed nine assists and eight rebounds.
Senior Brian Butch leads the Badgers and ranks 11th in the Big Ten with an average 12.4 points per game. He is also tops on the team in rebounding at 6.7 per contest.
Wisconsin leads the nation in scoring defense, allowing its opponents an average of just 54.4 points per game. The Badgers' +13.9 scoring margin is tops in the Big Ten.
The Badgers' Big Ten title this season is the team's third under Bo Ryan. The team won a share of the title in 2002 -- his first year at the helm -- and then won it outright in 2003.
The 'Cats open play Thursday at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind. The Wildcats will be the No. 11 seed and will face the No. 6 seed at 4 p.m. Central time.