Hoosiers Unable to Stop Wildcats
February 25, 2004Evanston, Ill--Hoping to snap a three-game losing streak, the Indiana men's basketball team came up just short and was unable to put a stop to the Northwestern Wildcats as they fell, 63-59 Wednesday night at the Welsh Ryan Arena.
The loss marks the Hoosiers fourth in a row and moves Indiana to 12-13 on the season and 6-8 in the Big Ten. Northwestern improves to 12-12 overall and 7-6 in conference play.
The two teams were pretty even on both ends of the court in the opening minutes of the contest. Neither team could pull away with a lead bigger than four in the first 10 minutes of play. With the Hoosiers trailing 11-8, freshman forward Patrick Ewing Jr. provided an immediate spark off the bench when he entered the game midway through the first half. Ewing dished out an assist and pitched in with four quick points in his first several minutes on the floor. The 6-8 forward finished the night with eight points and tied his career-high 12 rebounds.
Northwestern connected on some key baskets down the stretch and then went on an 8-2 run to give them their biggest lead of the half, 28-16 at the 3:50 mark. The Hoosiers struggled behind the three-point line, as they were 1-for-9 in the first stanza. Indiana found itself down ten, 32-22 heading into the locker room.
Sophomore guard Marshall Strickland opened up the first half with a quick three-point basket to trickle the lead down to seven but Northwestern came back and answered with several buckets and defensive stops to keep its momentum going.
Just five minutes later, Strickland came up big for the Hoosiers once again, this time knocking down another basket from behind the arc to tie the game at 39 apiece with 9:34 left to go.
The tie, however, would be short lived as the Wildcats proceeded to ignite on a decisive 7-0 run, leaving the Hoosiers with little chance to pull ahead and earn the lead.
Indiana did show signs of life when it bounced back and brought the game to within two, 61-59 after a quick Wright put back off a missed lay up from Strickland. But as time slowly expired, the Hoosiers had no other choice but to foul, bringing T.J. Parker to the line to sink his free throws and end the game at 63-59.
In the end, the Hoosiers had a good rebounding night, as they pulled down a total of 43 compared to the Cats' 24.
Wright was the leading scorer for Indiana with 17 points. Strickland was not too far behind with 14 points. Strickland also dished out a career-high seven assists.
Northwestern's Vedran Vukusic led all scorers with 23 points. Jitim Young also reached double digit scoring, pitching in with 18 points.
Indiana will return to action on Wednesday, March 3 for a home game against the Michigan Wolverines. Tip off is slated for 6:00 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN Plus Local.
The game can also be heard on the IU Radio Network with Don Fischer (p-b-p), Todd Leary (analysis) and Joe Smith (pre game, halftime and post game) on the call.
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