06 December 2012

northwestern 74 BAYLOR 70 (F)

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.  We think that expression applies here, but we'd need to ask our Nanas to say with certainty.  Anywho what we are trying to say is that a visiting Northwestern punked a strongly favored (11 points) Baylor on Tuesday night much like a visiting UIC punked a strongly favored (11 points) Northwestern last Saturday.  It goes without saying that the whos whats wheres and whys differ.  But it's no matter.  The point is that NU quickly erased and even made up for the UIC loss in the very next game.

It was a sluggish start to the game.  At the five minute mark the Bears had eked out a 5-2 lead.  At the 8 minute mark the Bears were clinging to a 10-8 lead.  Riveting stuff. And it's not like the defenses could stake a legitimate claim to the low scoring affair.  Northwestern got whatever open look it wanted but clanked 9 of its first 10 shots.  The Bears weren't much better particularly not from beyond 5 feet. 

It was at that point that both teams started to shoot much better.  By halftime both teams were shooting 50% or better with NU holding a 35-32 lead after a buzzer beating Dave Sobolewski trifecta.

Our mood was upbeat at the half.  Baylor's zone that had perplexed NU up in Evanston last year was like swiss cheese this year.  Simply put the difference was Alex Olah making shots from the soft middle of their zone and making nice passes to cutters for easy layups.   Baylor seemingly had no answer.  The pundits suggested that Baylor abandon their primary zone defense in favor of man-to-man.  We could only hope that would play out since the Princeton Offense carves up weak man defenses, and as a secondary defense we had to believe Baylor would fall into the category.

Lo and behold the Bears DID come out in man, and NU carved it up like a Thanksgiving turkey.  The plethora of backdoor hoops and open threes dispirited the Bears and carried over to their incredibly anemic offense.  The Bears were so flummoxed they couldn't even make free throws.  It wasn't until nearly 8 minutes in that Baylor made their first field goal of the second half.  That cut NU's lead to 12 but did nothing to stop the bleeding while NU extended its lead to 18 points just before the 10 minute mark.  NU was having so much fun that Sobolewski got warned for talking trash and Drew Crawford got T'd up for hanging on the rim on a monster dunk along the baseline.

It was inevitable that Baylor would awaken from their hibernation.  A steady diet of taking the ball hard to the hoop snapped Pierre Jackson out of his awful funk, and along came the Bears.  Their comeback wasn't exactly fast and furious and was aided by some awful turnovers and awful NU free throw shooting over the final quarter of the game.  In the end NU won, and that is really all that matters. 

Next up: Butler comes to the Welsh on Saturday December 8 7PM Central.   Which NU team will show up?  Stay tuned to find out!