Nov. 21, 2006
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Nov. 21, 2006 -- 7 p.m. CT
Northwestern (1-2) vs. Brown (1-3)
Welsh-Ryan Arena (8,117)
Radio -- WGN 720 AM (Dave Eanet, play-by-play; Dave Kaplan analyst)
Television -- None
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Head coach Bill Carmody and the Wildcats return home Tuesday night to take on the Brown Bears at 7 p.m. CT at Welsh-Ryan Arena when Carmody goes up against his long-time assistant and protegé Craig Robinson. Robinson, an assistant coach under Carmody the past six seasons, accepted the head coaching job at Brown this past summer.
The Wildcats are coming off a narrow defeat at Stanford last Friday night, 58-53. The Wildcats battled back from a 12-point second half deficit to tie the game, but did not get the defensive stop or the big shot they needed to get them over the hump. Tim Doyle and Vince Scott, who finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively, led a 13-1 run late in the game to tie it at 52. Doyle also added six assists and three steals while Scott connected on all three of his attempts from long range.
The Bears, meanwhile, picked up their first win of the season at cross-town rival Providence last Saturday 51-41. In that game Nathan Eads led the Bears with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Both teams combined for 36 turnovers in the game while Brown connected on 18-of-25 from the charity stripe.
The NU-Brown Series
Tuesday is the fourth-ever meeting between Northwestern and Brown with NU leading 2-1 overall. The last time these two teams met, Brown came away with a 60-56 win in 1996 in Evanston.
About BrownKeenan Jeppesen was a second-team All-Ivy League choice last season, averaging more than 16 points per game in Ivy games, good for second in the league. He scored in double figures in 13-of-14 league contests. He also was second in the league with 51 steals and 10th with 15 blocked shots. Jeppesen leads the team in scoring this season with 10.5 ppg.
Head coach Craig Robinson is in his first season as the head coach. He picked up his first career win last Saturday as the Bears knocked off Providence 51-41 on the road. They opened the season with an 11-point loss at Michigan State after playing even with the Spartans for a majority of the game. Robinson was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year at Princeton, helping the Tigers advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 1983.
Brown, 1-3 on the season, is one of the most experienced teams in the Ivy League. They return all five starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's team that went 10-17 and finished fifth in the Ivy with a 6-8 mark.
Last Time Out
Northwestern came back from a 12-point deficit to tie the game, but Stanford scored the final five points to notch a 58-53 victory. Lawrence Hill scored a career-high 21 points, including a key basket in the final 30 seconds, to lead the Cardinal. The Wildcats were led by Tim Doyle's 13 points. Taj Finger added 12 points as the Cardinal (3-1) won their 47th in 53 home games. Vince Scott added 11 points. Stanford held the lead most of the contest but wasn't able to shake the Wildcats. The Cardinal grabbed a 52-40 lead on consecutive jumpers from Mitch Johnson in the final six minutes but Northwestern responded with 11 unanswered points -- highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers and a left hook by the 6-10 senior center Scott -- to pull with one with 2:47 left to play. Doyle hit a pair of free throws 47 seconds later to tie it at 53.
Doyle Among Big Ten Leaders
Tim Doyle is one of the best in the business in terms of getting his teammates involved and finding the open man. This season he is second in the Big Ten in assists per game (6.67) and is tied for second with 3.0 steals per game. He also has kept his turnovers to a minimum this season with only eight in the first three games. He averages 11.0 points per game, is shooting 80 percent (12-of-15) from the stripe and leads all Big Ten players with 38.7 minutes per game.
Ryan, Okrzesik Provide Spark
Newcomers Jeff Ryan and Jason Okrzesik have provided a consistent spark off the bench for the Wildcats this season. Ryan had his best game of the season with eight points and one 3-pointer in the close loss at Stanford. In the win over DePaul, he came up with a big steal and break-away layup that helped the Wildcats pull away from the Blue Demons. Okrzesik had his best game against Cornell with 11 points on 3-of-5 from downtown. He is averaging 6.7 points and shooting 47 percent from the field.
Taking Care of the Rock
The Wildcats lead the Big Ten in assist-turnover percentage with a +1.19 ratio. Northwestern always gives itself a chance to win by keeping errors to a minimum. And that was the case once again last Tuesday night as the Wildcats committed just five turnovers -- two coming on shot clock violations -- compared to 15 total for DePaul. It marked the 37th time in the Bill Carmody era that the Wildcats have recorded single-digit turnover games. They are 24-13 in those games.
Scott Finds His TouchVince Scott leads the Big Ten in assist-turnover ratio (+5.00) with 10 assists and only two turnovers.
Senior Vince Scott, who led the Big Ten in three-point shooting in Big Ten games his sophomore season, has regained his touch from the outside this season. He is shooting 46 percent from the outside and hit all three of his attempts in the road loss at Stanford. He keyed the 13-1 run to help NU overcome a 12-point second half defecit.
Williams Shows Consistency
Redshirt sophomore Sterling Williams is playing with much more confidence this season and it has reflected in his statistics. Williams is averaging 9.0 points per game -- up from 3.4 points last season -- and shooting 44 percent from the floor. He had his best game with 11 points in the opener against Cornell where he also grabbed seven boards.
Every Class Represented
Through the first three games of the season, the
Wildcats have started a fifth-year (Doyle), a fourth-year (Scott), a third-year (Williams), a second-year (Moore) and a first-year in true-freshman Coble.
Coble Wins Fisher-McGrath Award
The annual NU-DePaul game MVP honors (Waldo
Fisher-Frank McGrath Award) went to NU's Kevin Coble this season as the freshman scored nine points and keyed a second half run that put the
Wildcats out in front for good in the win over the Blue Demons.
Newcomers Shine in Debut
In their first outings wearing the purple and white against Cornell, freshman Kevin Coble and junior transfer Jason Okrzesik impressed. Coble
recorded 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting with one 3-pointer to go along with seven rebounds while Okrzesik provided a spark off the bench, sinking 3-of-5 3-pointers for 11 points. Sophomore Sterling Williams had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Doyle Sets Two Career Highs
Tim Doyle recorded new career highs with eight
assists and seven rebounds in the game against
Cornell. He played the entire 40 minutes and tallied
This is by far one of the youngest teams head coach
Bill Carmody has coached in his career. In his first season in Evanston in 2000-01 he had seven freshmen and zero seniors. This year he has six freshmen, four sophomores and two junior-eligible players who did not see action last season.
Noting Bill CarmodyIn Big Ten play, Northwestern has won 30 regular-season conference games during the past five years, the most over a five-year period since 1966-70 (32). In Carmody's six-year tenure, the Wildcats
have won 33 Big Ten regular-season games; prior to
his arrival, NU had 28 conference victories in the
previous 12 seasons.
The Wildcats have won 10 or more home games
four of the past five years, including 12 in 2004-05, a
program record, and nine in 2005-06. Northwestern
is 52-23 at home the last five-plus years, and have
had a winning mark at Welsh-Ryan every year under
Carmody after doing so just twice in the six seasons
prior to his arrival.
Last year Carmody led NU to 14 wins, the sixth-straight double-digit win season, and guided NU to a 9-4 start, his best in six years as head coach. He also started 2-0 in the Big Ten for the first time in 23 years.
Though it sometimes gets overlooked, head coach Bill Carmody has turned Northwestern into a consistent winner. Over the past six full years under Carmody the Wildcats have won 82 games, the best six-year win total in the program's history. Northwestern has won at least 11 games in all of Carmody's seasons -- a program first -- and the first time the 'Cats have reached double figures in the win column six straight seasons since 1938.