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Nivit Poochareon

Northwestern coach Bill Carmody signaled out depth as theprimary quality a team needs to make a postseason run.

The Wildcats’seven-man rotation didn’t provide much of the key attribute, butfortunately for the Cats their seventh man proved to be all thedepth the team needed.

Sophomore DavorDuvancic was the second NU player to pull of the warm ups, and hehad his best performance of the season to solidify NU’s 76-64victory against Minnesota.

The forwardmatched a career-best with eight points in a conference game andshut down the Golden Gophers primary weapon down the stretch tohelp prevent a comeback.

“Davor was huge,”senior Aaron Jennings said. “He made a big 3-pointer, he had insideshots and he was a presence for rebounding. He stepped up and didthe things we needed.”

Jennings struggledwith foul trouble and scored just six points and failed to pull ina rebound. With the lack of production from NU’s starting center,Duvancic’s contribution was all the more important.

When Jenningscollected his fifth foul with more than six minutes to play,Duvancic faced the task of guarding First-Team All-Big Ten forwardRick Rickert, who had already tallied 10 second-half points.

“I knew that itwas my chance,” Duvancic said. “I thought, ‘Okay, I have sixminutes to prove to coach I can play (center).”

Duvancic respondedby holding Rickert scoreless and not allowing the 6-foot-11 forwardto pull down a single rebound.

“I knew Rickert iskind of a slow guy,” Duvancic said. “I thought I could keep theball away from him by staying in front, and it worked.”

Duvancic notchedfive points before the break with a dribble-penetration layup andhis first career 3-pointer. The Croatian swished a jumper from 22feet to beat the shot clock with 3:50 remaining in the firsthalf.

“I didn’t evenknow what to do,” Duvancic said. “It felt good and then I had toget my ass back to defense.”

The Croatianrecorded 17 minutes for his second-highest total against a Big Tenopponent. Duvancic has averaged 12 minutes per contest during thepast four games.

“I hope coachnotices and (the performance) will give me the opportunity to dowhat I can to help the team,” Duvancic said.

NUMBER 25:

With three pointsin today’s match up with Illinois, junior Jitim Young – whowears No. 25 on his jersey – will become the 25thNU player to reach 1,000 career points.

Young’s 20 pointsagainst the Gophers have given the Chicago native the chance toreach the milestone at the United Center.

“Reaching 1,000points, man … am I really there?” Young said. “It’s definitely anaccomplishment to be able to do it as a junior.”

But while reachingthe club would be nice, Young said it would only be a piece of alarger puzzle.

“It’s one of themany goals I have,” he said. “I definitely want to make it to theNCAAs (tournament) and I want to be conference player of theyear.

“When you have high goals you’re never satisfied andthat’s the type of person I am, I always want more and more.”

AROUND THERIM:

The win was NU’ssecond in the six-year history of the Big Ten tournament …The Cats have reached double-digits in the win-column for threeconsecutive years for the first time since 1966-68 … SeniorWinston Blake hit a 3-pointer for the 199th of his career. Thatputs him four shy of school-record holder Todd Leslie … NU’s10-for-22 mark from beyond the arc was it’s best of the conferenceseason (45.5 percent).