Nov. 6, 2011
Northwestern vs. Robert Morris (Ill.)
Monday, Nov. 7, 2011
Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
Evanston, Ill. 7 p.m.
Streaming Video: Big Ten Digital Network via Wildcats All-Access
In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Northwestern Game Notes (PDF)
Tickets: General public - $10; NU undergraduate students - FREE with valid WildCARD
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Fans can get their first look at the 2011-12 Northwestern men's basketball team in action Monday when the Wildcats take on Robert Morris (Ill.) in an exhibition game at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
Tickets for the contest cost just $10 for the general public, while Northwestern undergraduate students are admitted free of charge with a valid WildCARD. There is no charge for parking Monday night.
It is NU's lone exhibition contest before it opens the regular season Nov. 13 at home against Texas-Pan American. A year ago, John Shurna posted 19 points and eight rebounds while Drew Crawford added 16 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots as Northwestern rolled to a 91-71 victory over Robert Morris in exhibition play.
SCOUTING ROBERT MORRIS
The Eagles are ranked No. 3 in the NAIA preseason poll after going 32-2 last season and advancing to the quarterfinal round of the national tournament before falling to eventual national champion Pikeville (Ky.).
Senior guard Diante Watkins earned first-team All-American honors a year ago after averaging 19 points and six assists per game.
Al Bruehl is in his 15th season as the head coach at RMU.
Northwestern is coming off its third straight postseason appearance--a program best--advancing to the NIT quarterfinal round before falling 69-66 at Washington State in overtime. The Wildcats have posted a school-record 20 wins in each of the last two seasons. This year's senior class has posted 57 wins over the last three campaigns, just eight shy of the school record of 65 set by last year's class.
SOLID CORE RETURNS
NU welcomes back nine letterwinners, including four starters, from last year's squad which made the deepest postseason run in school history. Northwestern returns 73.8 percent of its scoring and 84.4 percent of its rebounding from last season.
SHURNA EARNS PRESEASON ACCOLADES
Senior forward John Shurna has been named a second-team preseason All-American by Sporting News and a third-team choice of Athlon Sports. He has also been named to the watch list for the Wooden Award for the second consecutive season. Shurna averaged a team-best 16.6 points per game to go along with 4.9 rebounds per contest in 2010-11 as he was named a third-team All-Big Ten selection. He was also a second-team all-conference pick as a sophomore. The last NU player to earn three career All-Big Ten laurels was Evan Eschmeyer who was a first-team honoree in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
SHOOTING FOR THE TOP
Northwestern's scoring record of 1,900 career points has stood since 1977 when Billy McKinney completed his collegiate eligibility. John Shurna enters his senior year in 10th place on NU's career scoring list with 1,377 career points, 523 shy of McKinney's top spot. Shurna scored a school single-season record 619 points as a sophomore and 531 points last season as a junior.
In each of the last two seasons, Northwestern started its campaign with at least nine wins in its first 11 games. In 2009-10, NU opened 10-1 en route to earning a No. 25 national ranking. Prior to that season, the Wildcats last posted nine wins in their first 11 contests in the 1993-94 campaign. Each of the last two years, the Wildcats have 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.
SUCCESS UNDER CARMODY
In head coach Bill Carmody's first 11 seasons in Evanston, the Wildcats have recorded at least six Big Ten victories seven times. The program totaled six or more conference wins just five times in the previous 31 years prior to Carmody's arrival.
Northwestern is well known for playing "team" offense and that's reflected in the statistics. The Wildcats led the Big Ten and ranked 10th in the nation with an average of 16.7 assists per game last season. NU's assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.70 (568 assists, 335 turnovers) was the nation's second-best mark, barely trailing only Wisconsin (1.71). The 'Cats also finished third nationally with an average of only 9.9 turnovers per game.
Junior guard Alex Marcotullio spent his second consecutive summer playing for Great Britain at the FIBA U-20 European Championships in Bosnia. He averaged 16.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.3 steals per game during this year's tournament and then based on his performance was invited to try out for Great Britain's National Team. Marcotullio posted his best totals in the team's final tournament game, recording 24 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Iceland. He also hit a game-winning buzzer-beater in an 83-82 victory over Israel.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Wildcats posted a 13-4 home record last season with three of the losses coming to teams that were nationally ranked at the time (Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State). After setting a program best with 13 home wins in 2008-09, the Wildcats established a new mark with 15 victories at Welsh-Ryan Arena in 2009-10. Northwestern has a 38-3 home record against unranked opponents over the last three seasons.
HILL JOINS WILDCATS' STAFF
Fred Hill is the newest member of the Wildcats' coaching staff, joining Northwestern as an assistant in the offseason. Hill was most recently the head coach at Rutgers from 2006-10 after serving one year there as the associate head coach. He has also served as an assistant at Villanova, Seton Hall, Fairleigh Dickinson, Maine, Marquette, Rider, Lehigh and Montclair State. Hill replaces Mitch Henderson who was hired as the head coach at Princeton University, his alma mater.
Northwestern opens up its 2011-12 regular season on Sunday, Nov. 13 as it plays host to Texas-Pan American. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.
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