Rapid Recap: Indiana 66, Northwestern 62


Daily file photo by Doreen Du

A.J. Turner dribbles the ball. The senior guard finished the game with 12 points.

Andrew Golden, Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

Coming to Assembly Hall in the midst of a four-game losing streak, Northwestern was looking to get back on track against Indiana and get its first win in Big Ten play.

The Wildcats (5-9, 0-4 Big Ten) played in a back-and-forth first half, taking the lead and never relinquishing it in a 66-62 victory against the Hoosiers (12-3, 2-2) on the road.

As the first half transpired, NU and Indiana traded buckets, both firing on all cylinders. But the Cats hit a cold stretch and the Hoosiers took advantage, jumping out to a 10-point lead.

Just when it looked like NU was out of the game, the young Cats roster showed their maturity on the road in a hostile environment. The Cats went on an 11-0 run over a three-minute stretch to take a 30-29 lead. A key cog in NU’s attack was senior forward A.J. Turner, who returned after missing the team’s previous game with an injury and scored five points, including a layup that gave the Cats a lead.

NU’s success was a result of turning its defense into offense. In the final 8:38 of the first half, Indiana scored three points and had six turnovers. The Cats carried the momentum into the second half and built a 10-point lead of their own.

But just like the Hoosiers watched their 10-point lead diminish early, NU watched its own diminish late. The Cats didn’t score a basket for six minutes during the second half, allowing Indiana to go on a 10-0 run to tie the game at 50 with just under eight minutes remaining.

The two teams continued to stay close late, but Indiana took its first lead of the game with 1:57 remaining. NU wasn’t able to get the stops it needed late and, with a chance to tie the game down three, sophomore forward Pete Nance missed a contested three and the Cats fell in heartbreaking fashion.

1. Miller Kopp gets off to a hot start, draws extra attention

Sophomore Miller Kopp has become a go-to scorer for NU on offense, leading the team in scoring with 12.7 points per game. In the last three games, he has had the hot hand, averaging 19.7 points per game, so the Cats turned to him early on. He scored seven of NU’s first nine points on offense and looked like he was hitting his rhythm.

But the Hoosiers started to key in on him defensively, trapping him, sending double teams and forcing him to pass and rely on his teammates to make shots. And his teammates delivered. While Kopp went 0-3 for the rest of the half, the team shot 48 percent in the first half. After starting the game 3-3, the sophomore from Houston, Texas wasn’t as effective, finishing the game 5-12 from the field.

2. Foul trouble puts the Cats in a bind for most of the game

The Cats came into Wednesday’s game with just eight scholarship players active, and it didn’t help that they got into foul trouble early. By the first media timeout, sophomore guard Pete Nance had already picked up his second foul of the game. Freshman Ryan Young had picked up his second with less than six minutes remaining and by halftime, Nance had picked up his third foul.

Collins had to be creative with his rotations, mixing freshman center Jared Jones into the rotation at the end of the first half alongside the three starters in foul trouble. Jones didn’t affect the game on the offensive side of the ball, but made his presence felt on defense, taking two charges in the first half. With just under 10 minutes remaining, Beran and Nance both had five fouls and Beran fouled with 1:57 left.

3. NU shows its maturity late in the game despite the loss

Early on, the Cats were able to weather an early storm from IU to take the lead in the first half. But late in the second half, with the game tied at 50, Collins had a chance to see if his team would step up with a road crowd against them. And while they didn’t make all of the stops necessary to win the game, the Cats showed lots of maturity on the road

NU was able to get contributions from every player on the roster at some point of the game, from its veterans to its young players. Turner scored in double figures for the first time all season, Kopp was able to make clutch shots late and Collins was able to get solid contributions from all of his big men late. At this point in the season, things aren’t looking great for the Cats in terms of their record. But, if there are any moral victories, the team’s ability to fight late could bode well for them late in the season.

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