Dec. 3, 2012
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern heads to the Lone Star State for the second time this season as it travels to Waco on Tuesday to face Baylor. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
The contest is being televised by ESPN2 and can also be seen online at WatchESPN.com. Live radio coverage is available at 720 AM WGN and wgnradio.com.
The Wildcats competed at the South Padre Island Invitational Nov. 23 and 24, defeating TCU and Illinois State to win the tournament. Northwestern has won its last three games in the state of Texas, including posting a 77-71 victory at Texas-Pan American Nov. 17, 2010.
NU is looking to bounce back from consecutive losses, including suffering at 50-44 defeat to UIC on Saturday. Drew Crawford paced Northwestern with 18 points, but the Flames finished the game on a 10-2 run to pull off the upset. The Wildcats held the Flames to 30.9 percent shooting from the field but NU missed half of its 20 free throw attempts and committed 16 turnovers.
Series History: Baylor won the only previous meeting with Northwestern as the seventh-ranked Bears posted a 69-41 win in Evanston Dec. 4, 2011.
The Bears (5-2) are coming off a 64-55 win at No. 8 Kentucky on Saturday. Pierre Jackson scored a game-high 17 points for Baylor which held the Wildcats to 29.6 percent shooting and snapped their 54-game home winning streak.
Jackson paces Baylor with averages of 19.9 points and 6.4 assists per game. Cory Jefferson contributes 13.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per contest while shooting 70.2 percent from the field.
Scott Drew is in his 10th season as the head coach at Baylor where he has a 162-126 record. He was previously the head coach at Valparaiso for one season.
PROTECTING THE ROCK
Though the end result didn't go the way they would have liked, the Wildcats did a great job of taking care of the basketball against Maryland Nov. 27. Northwestern committed just four turnovers in the entire contest, the fewest since it committed three in an overtime game at Illinois on Dec. 30, 2009. NU is committing an average of just 10.9 turnovers per game, a mark that ranks 21st in the country.
SETTING THE STANDARD
The 31 points that Northwestern limited TCU to on Nov. 23 were the fewest in Bill Carmody's 13 seasons as head coach and rank as a tie for the second-lowest total by an NU opponent since 1944. Only Oakland has scored fewer points against the Wildcats in a 68-30 loss to NU on Nov. 22, 1998. SIU-Edwardsville was also limited to 31 on Dec. 1, 1982.
DOING IT ON DEFENSE
Northwestern ranks first in the Big Ten with a 55.9 opponents scoring average. The Wildcats have been especially stingy on the defensive end in the first half this season. In three of the team's first five contests, Northwestern's opponent managed just 14 points. NU limited Texas Southern to 6-of-29 shooting (20.7%) on Nov. 13, Fairleigh Dickinson to 6-of-28 shooting (21.4%) on Nov. 18 and TCU to 6-of-22 shooting (27.3%) on Nov. 23. The 14 points are the fewest by a Northwestern opponent in a half since UC Riverside scored 14 points in the first half on Dec. 1, 2008.
SO FAR, SO GOOD
Northwestern posted at least six wins through its first seven games for the fifth-straight season. The Wildcats opened 2010-11 with eight-consecutive wins before winning their first seven a year ago. NU began the 2009-10 campaign 10-1 en route to earning an AP national ranking.
DISHING IT OUT
Sophomore Dave Sobolewski has been in a giving mood through the Wildcats' first eight games. The point guard handed out a career-best nine assists in Northwestern's season-opening win over Texas Southern Nov. 13 and then followed it up with eight helpers against Mississippi Valley State Nov. 15. His average of 4.4 assists per game ranks third in the Big Ten. A year ago, Sobolewski led the Big Ten and paced all nation's freshmen with a 2.63 assist-to-turnover ratio. Through eight contests, Northwestern leads the Big Ten with an average of 17.6 assists per game while leading the country with a .758 assist percentage.
Northwestern is well known for playing "team" offense and that's reflected in the statistics. The Wildcats ranked fourth in the nation with a 1.53 assist-to-turnover ratio last season and they're first in the Big Ten so far this year with a 1.62 ratio (141 assists, 87 turnovers). NU ranked second nationally to only Wisconsin with a 1.70 mark in 2010-11. NU also ranked fourth in the country last season with an average of just 10.2 turnovers per contest.
CRAWFORD CLIMBS SCORING LIST
Drew Crawford currently ranks 11th in school history with 1,383 career points. He is 14 points shy of Shon Morris for 10th place. Last season, Crawford became the 17th Northwestern player to reach the 1,000 career point mark in his first three seasons of action. He is the second-leading returning scorer in the Big Ten in terms of scoring average behind only Penn State's Tim Frazier after posting a norm of 16.1 points per game in 2011-12.
Northwestern returns home Saturday as it takes on Butler at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.
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