Men’s Basketball: Nash, bench bolster Cats in victory

Matt Forman

Through much of the first half against Indiana on Wednesday, Northwestern did everything it could to claw out of an early 9-0 hole. After sophomore guard Michael Thompson was fouled and made both free throw attempts to tie the game at 25 with 5:15 remaining, the Wildcats got a momentum-shifting play.

Less than 15 seconds later, senior Craig Moore stole the ball from Daniel Moore and threw a full-court pass to Jeremy Nash. That’s when the athletic junior accepted the pass, took one step and exploded towards the rim, throwing down an emphatic dunk and bringing the crowd to its feet.

With Nash’s statement, the Cats had their first lead.

“My emotions were like we were trailing the whole game,” Nash said. “I just wanted to put some ‘oomph’ on it and get our team going.”

Just as Nash added a little something extra to his dunk, he did the same to his offensive play. He scored a season-high 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 2-of-2 from long distance.

It was much needed. In the Cats’ last two games Thompson, Moore and junior Kevin Coble had scored 111 of the team’s 129 points.

“My coaches and teammates told me I have to be more aggressive to take the pressure of Craig Moore, Juice Thompson and Kevin Coble,” Nash said.

As the Hoosiers keyed on Coble, double- and triple-teaming him, the bench scored 10 of its 15 points in the first half. Nash made the most of the open chances.

“They kind of went to a four-on-five type of thing on defense and just left him basically alone on the wing,” Coble said. “For him to hit a couple of big 3s, those were some huge shots.”

Several other players also contributed off the bench. With Luka Mirkovic sidelined due to a sprained ankle, senior Sterling Williams played 13 minutes, his most in conference play. Williams hit a running jumper in the lane in the second half and grabbed a key defensive rebound with just over two minutes remaining. Sophomore Ivan Peljusic added three points and three rebounds.

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