Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Cats look to develop consistency in home opener (Men’s Basketball)

Northwestern might as well be two different teams.

The Wildcats always seem to play well in the cozy confines of Welsh-Ryan Arena. But when they put the road uniforms on, the transformation is complete.

Take last year. NU went 12-4 in Evanston – its best home record since the 1982-83 season. The success was offset on the road, where the Cats lost nine of 10 games. During coach Bill Carmody’s five seasons, NU is 50-24 (.676) at home compared to 9-43 (.173) on the road.

This year’s nonconference schedule includes tough road games against DePaul, Virginia and Seton Hall. If the Cats hope to enter Big Ten play in January with a solid record, they will need a strong showing in their first five home games. The task begins tonight at 7 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena against Florida Atlantic (0-1).

“We want to get off on a good foot on our home court,” senior guard Mike Jenkins said. “It will be a good opportunity for us to start off strong and have a good homestand this year.”

NU won two-of-three games last week at the Black Coaches Association Invitational in Laramie, Wyo. Senior forward Vedran Vukusic averaged 25.3 points per game to earn all-tournament honors. With Vukusic already in midseason form, the Cats’ need to find a second scorer.

No other NU player averaged double figures through the first three games. While swingmen Mohamed Hachad and Tim Doyle showed flashes of being capable scorers, the Cats’ inside game was nonexistent.

Starting center Michael Thompson scored a total of five points during the tournament in only 13 minutes per game. Backup junior Vince Scott received the bulk of the playing time at center but didn’t fare much better. He was held scoreless in Monday’s win over Charlotte and is averaging four points a game.

“Someone else needs to step up,” Doyle said. “I don’t think Mike Thompson is playing the best he’s played since he put on a Northwestern uniform. He was disappointed with the way he played, and he knows he has to put up better numbers than he did.”

The 6-foot-10 Thompson has an opportunity to get on track tonight against an undersized Florida Atlantic team. The Owls’ starting lineup consists of 6-foot-7 Rodney Webb, 6-foot-6 Fred Marshall and three guards. Florida Atlantic lost its season opener against Colgate on Friday, 78-74, in coach Matt Doherty’s debut.

“We need to get the ball inside,” Jenkins said. That’s always been a focus for us against any team. We need to establish an inside game.”

Reach Gerald Tang at [email protected]

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Cats look to develop consistency in home opener (Men’s Basketball)