Thursday, February 6, 2003

Northwestern 74, Indiana 61



The Associated Press

EVANSTON, Ill. - Northwestern students poured out of the stands when the buzzer sounded and rushed the floor, screaming with pent-up joy and relief. With a 74-61 stunner over Indiana on Wednesday night, Northwestern had finally wiped away one of its ugliest streaks. For the first time in 15 years, the Wildcats had beaten the Hoosiers.

"Since I've been here, it seems like we're always setting history for something," said Jitim Young, who finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds despite playing with a dislocated finger.

"This is a good one to go into our trophy case."

It was better than good. The Wildcats hadn't beaten Indiana since Jan. 11, 1988, a 26-game losing streak. And after losing their first seven Big Ten games, the Wildcats (9-10, 1-7 Big Ten) thoroughly dominated an Indiana team that was ranked No. 6 in the country less than two months ago.

It was the fourth straight loss for Indiana (14-7, 4-4), which wrapped up an extended road trip that included stops at Purdue, Michigan State and Louisville.

"We're terrible right now. I feel bad for anyone who watched this," said Kyle Hornsby, who finished with two points for the Hoosiers. "They're not a bad team, but they made us look terrible."

Northwestern coach Bill Carmody stole a page from Michigan coach Tommy Amaker's motivational book before the game, telling his players they were starting from scratch Wednesday night. Michigan ripped off 12 straight wins after Amaker said the same thing, and the Wildcats took the advice to heart.

They attacked from the opening tip and never let Indiana get into a rhythm, harassing the Hoosiers defensively and outrebounding them 38-31.

Northwestern had a whopping 11 steals, six alone by Mohamed Hachad. Hachad also had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in just his third game as a starter. T.J. Parker added 21 points and had three steals.

"I'm just real happy for our guys," Carmody said. "These guys work hard and sometimes when you don't see the fruits of your work, it's discouraging."

Indiana shot almost 44 percent, but had only two players in double figures. A.J. Moye finished with 14, and Bracey Wright had 12. Jeff Newton, who averages 14.2, scored eight.

Indiana coach Mike Davis skipped his postgame radio show and didn't address the media. His players didn't leave the locker room until almost an hour after the game ended.

"What can you say? It's the most embarrassing loss I've been a part of since I've been here," senior Tom Coverdale said. "Just because of the way we played. We've got a lot of fans who really care. For some guys to not even come in and play hard and act like they don't care, it's frustrating."

Northwestern never trailed and, after falling behind 18-9, Indiana could never make a real dent in the lead. The Hoosiers managed to whittle the deficit to 30-24 at the half, but Parker and Young opened the second half with back-to-back layups.

"It just seemed when we had to come up with a play, we did," Carmody said. "I don't know if we dominated, but it seemed like we played with a lot of energy and we were able to sustain it."

Northwestern pushed its lead to 48-33 when Parker scored on a backdoor layup off an inside pass from Jason Burke with 12:52 to play.

Moye tried to rally the Hoosiers, stealing the ball and scoring on a give-and-go with Wright. The basket, which cut Northwestern's lead to 52-41, elated the Hoosier fans, who filled more than half of the arena.

But Winston Blake quickly quieted them down a 3-pointer, and Young and Parker scored on layups to put Northwestern up 59-42 with 6:47 to play.

"That's always a great feeling," Blake said. "I love that part of the game. The adrenaline is flowing, you hit a big shot and their crowd is silent."

Indiana made one last run at the Wildcats. Donald Perry made a 3 and then a pair of free throws to spark a 9-2 run that pulled the Hoosiers within 61-51. But the Wildcats turned up the pressure defensively, Young scored on a reverse, and Indiana never threatened again.

"It's up there," Blake said when asked how big the victory is. "It's definitely up there. To beat Indiana? Man, it's unbelievable."




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