Ryan, Coble Impress Against Spartans (Men’s Basketball)

Nina Mandell and Nina Mandell

By Nina MandellThe Daily Northwestern

EAST LANSING, Mich. – For Jeff Ryan, playing time had been limited this season. Coming into Wednesday’s match at Michigan State, the freshman averaged 13 minutes, mostly broken up into short stints to give starters a rest.

But in his first Big Ten road game, he paired up with classmate Kevin Coble to give the outsized, outpaced Northwestern unexpected boost from the bench.

After coming in for the first time three minutes into the game, Ryan tied a season-high 24 minutes on the floor. The last time he had similar minutes was in a 64-40 win against Brown, when he played 19 minutes.

“He’s been playing pretty well,” NU coach Bill Carmody said. “He’s fast, he’s 6 (foot) 6, and he can do some stuff. He gave us a lift out there, he seemed to be moving faster than the other guys out there.”

The freshman duo paired up for the first time with their team down by 12 with 5:30 left in the half. Coble snagged a Michigan State pass, dribbled down the court and looked back to Ryan, who put it up for an easy three.

Paired with a foul shot from Vince Scott thirty seconds earlier, it was the first time the Cats scored on consecutive possessions in more than six minutes.