Poor Shooting, Scoring Drought Hurt Cats In The Second Half (Men’s Basketball)

Ben Larrison

By Ben LarrisonThe Daily Northwestern

For the second straight game, the Wildcats were betrayed by poor shooting and weak rebounding in the second half.

In the last 11:28 of the contest, Northwestern made just two field goals, including a meaningless Tim Doyle layup with 15 seconds left. The Cats’ futility from the field enabled Michigan to pull away and put NU in an 0-2 hole in Big Ten play as they enter a tough three-game stretch against top-25 teams.

“I thought that we played tremendous defensively, but I’ve certainly been around long enough to know that they missed some shots,” Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said.

The Cats’ shooting woes lasted much of the game, but were only exploited in the second half. NU started the game 0 for 6 from 3-point range and 3 for 10 from the floor through the first nine minutes. Aside from a 14-4 run that gave the Cats their biggest lead of the game at 20-15, NU was unable to put together an effective offensive run against the physical Wolverines.

The Cats shot just 32 percent from the field against Michigan, including a lowly 19.2 percent in the second half. And for a team that often lives and dies by the 3, NU was doomed by a 1-for-13 performance behind the arc in the second half.

“You take away those last two shots at the end of the game, and our 3-point shooting I know was bad,” NU coach Bill Carmody said. “Not good enough for us to win.”

In an unusual twist, the Cats kept themselves in the game with strong play on the boards. NU held the rebounding edge 14-11 in the first half and was tied 22-22 with the Wolverines midway through the second period. But Michigan out-rebounded the Cats 16-6 in the final 10-plus minutes, owning the glass down the stretch and capitalizing on offensive rebounds to take control of the game.

“I don’t know if they were necessarily wearing us down, but I don’t think we were aggressive enough,” NU freshman Kevin Coble said. “We were stopping them on defense, but it was the second-chance points and the put-backs were hurting us.”

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