Men’s Basketball: Moore’s 3-pointer provides spark

Matt Forman

Less than three minutes into the first half, Northwestern found itself trailing by two points.

Junior Kevin Coble cut toward the basket and looked like he would back down his defender in the post. Instead, Coble passed out towards the right wing and found a wide open Craig Moore.

That’s when Moore made history.

As the shot clock was nearing 17 seconds, Moore released one of his trademark 3-point field goals. His form was perfect, the ball had perfect rotation and it was a perfect swish.

“When he shoots, I expect every shot to go in,” Carmody said after Sunday’s win over Central Arkansas. “It’s a fine looking shot. I don’t know how it misses.”

The senior guard’s 213th career 3-pointer propelled the Wildcats on a 17-7 run and energized fans at Welsh-Ryan Arena, leading NU to a 66-48 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

Moore has dialed up more 3-pointers than other player in school history. He broke Vedran Vekusic’s two-year old school record.

“Craig’s been a good basketball player from day one,” Carmody said. “He’s a basketball player through and through.”

Carmody said he was unaware that Moore, who shot 1-of-7 from three in the game, broke the 3-point record.

Through the game’s first 13 minutes, NU was 4-of-8 from long distance, helping mount an early 15-point lead. As the treys started to fall, the Cats started to settle in. The early effectiveness from beyond the arc helped open backdoor cuts and driving lanes, helping Carmody’s Princeton offense work to perfection.

But the Cats’ hot shooting did not last forever.

In the second half, NU shot 0-of-8 from downtown to finish 5-of-21 for the game. Statistically, Coble was the best from the outside. The 6-foot-8 forward shot 3-of-6 in 3-point field goals. Still, that was after Coble made his first three.

“Some of the threes were definitely quick, not quite feeling the pulse of the game,” Coble said. “I think we got a little carried away and a little excited… Those are things that are game by game. You can’t really control them.”

Freshman forward John Shurna hit arguably the game’s most important 3-pointer. With just over a minute remaining in the first half, Luka Mirkovic drove baseline and kicked the ball out to Shurna. As the shot clock ticked inside of eight seconds, Shurna lined up a 23-footer and was fouled on the play.

Shurna missed the ensuing free throw, but it came at a crucial juncture. The Islanders were in the middle of a 7-2 run, forcing Carmody to call a timeout. When Carmody needed an answer, Shurna delivered from the left wing.

While Shurna delivered the big blow, Moore provided the highlight-reel 3-pointer.

With one school record in Moore’s rear-view mirror, another is within sight. Moore is 18 attempts away from breaking the most 3-point field goal tries mark of 603 by Winston Blake. Moore could finish in the top five in both categories in Big Ten history if he repeats last season’s 97-of-242 long-distance shooting campaign.

So how does it feel to sit atop the record book No. 1 in 3-pointers made in school history?

“It’s got a nice ring to it,” Moore said.

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