Dec. 27, 2006
Evanston, Ill. - Holding a seven-point lead with 14:23 remaining in the game, Loyola failed to score a point in the next 5:38 and Northwestern ran off 12 straight points to build a five-point lead and take control of the contest en route to a 66-60 non-conference victory Wednesday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Wildcats have now won eight of nine to increase their record to 9-3 while the record of the Greyhounds was evened at 5-5.
"This was a tremendous opportunity for Loyola College to come out here and play this game tonight," Loyola third-year head coach Jimmy Patsos said after the game. "When I got hired for the job after we were 1-27 I looked around the country and picked schools that we wanted to model our program after, combining success with strong academics. We wanted to come out here and see how Bill Carmody has done it here at Northwestern and see if we can learn from the experience."
The Greyhounds used 59.1 percent shooting in the first half to built a 33-26 advantage behind 13 points from junior guard Gerald Brown and 12 from sophomore guard Marquis Sullivan. A lay-up on the first possession of the second half by senior forward Josko Alujevic and the lead had swelled to nine at 35-26. Alujevic was fouled on the play, but missed the ensuing free throw and Northwestern grabbed the rebound.
"Ten (10-point difference) is such a psychological barrier, so that would have been a big free throw to get," Patsos said. "We didn't get rebounds off missed free throws all night and that hurt us."
Seven straight Wildcats points cut their deficit to two before Loyola pushed the lead back to seven behind a three-pointer from freshman guard Brett Harvey and a pair of baskets from junior forward Omari Isreal, the second with 14:23 remaining. Northwestern took the lead for good when Craig Moore connected on a three-pointer as the shot clock expired to break a 42-42 tie with 9:53 left.
The Wildcats scored their final nine points from the free-throw line to build a 10-point advantage before sophomore forward Dan Ficke scored the first four points of his career to close to the final margin.
Sullivan led all scorers with 17 points, his second straight game on that number. Brown finished with 15 points as the only other Loyola player in double figures. Harvey and Isreal each added nine.
For Northwestern, Vince Scott led four players in double digits with 16, shooting a perfect seven-for-seven from the field, including two three-pointers. Moore (14), Tim Doyle (13) and Kevin Coble (11) rounded out the quartet.
The Greyhounds stay on the road for a contest Saturday at No. 25 Michigan State. Game time is noon and the contest will be carried live on MASN.