23 February 2010

Recap: Wisconsin 70 Northwestern 63

Northwestern gave it the old college try at the Kohl and came up empty. It was a valiant second half effort in which Northwestern (17-10, Big Ten 6-9) closed a 14 point halftime gap to a one point deficit at the 2 minute mark. But Northwestern would get no closer down the stretch.

Northwestern was given a golden opportunity when John Leuer missed 3 of 4 free throws while the outcome was still in doubt. But John Shurna missed an awkward looking shot from eight feet at the one minute mark that would have tied the game. Then in the most critical possession with 30 seconds down to go and trailing by three the Northwestern offense sputtered. Not only did NU allow valuable seconds to melt away but also NU never got off a good shot. The best NU could manufacture was a Juice Thompson layup attempt that was blocked by Jon Leuer into the hands of Jason Bohannon with just 11 seconds to play. Game. Set. Match.

NU fans have whined about the officiating down the stretch. This leaves us cold. Sure the call against Shurna with 30 seconds to play was bogus and inconsistent with how the game was reffed the rest of the game. But you know what? That's the reality of life on the road. Deal with it.

NU had its chances to overcome the adversity but didn't get it done. Shurna, who had played marvelously the entire game (26 points, 4 boards), didn't execute when he couldn't tie the game with a minute to play. And the offensive execution on the most critical possession in the last half minute was poor.

Perhaps those who question whether Carmody should have called a timeout for that last possession are correct. The other school of thought is to let the teams play so that the opponents can't get their defense/strategy set during the timeout. NU's offense had executed well all game long so we have no problem with opting out of a timeout there.