Michigan sinks Northwestern in overtime
BY TONI GINNETTI email@example.com February 21, 2012 10:54PM
Michigan’s Jordan Morgan fights for a rebound against NU’s Drew Crawford (right) and Reggie Hearn. | AP
Updated: March 23, 2012 8:23AM
Northwestern’s NCAA tournament resume already has the right RPI (43), power ranking (12th) and conference (top-ranked Big Ten.)
But the Wildcats missed a golden opportunity to put a star on that resume Tuesday, letting a lead against No. 11 Michigan slip away in a 67-55 overtime loss that was as painful as any this season.
‘‘If we won, it would have been a really good win, but we still have to play Penn State and Ohio State and Iowa,’’ coach Bill Carmody said. ‘‘But it doesn’t knock us out of the box.’’
The Wildcats (16-11, 6-9 Big Ten) got 14 points from Big Ten scoring leader John Shurna, but he had only four in the second half and none in overtime.
‘‘It seemed early on John was reluctant to do things,’’ Carmody said. ‘‘He passed up shots to go to other things.’’
The Cats were without swingman Drew Crawford (six points) in the second half after he hurt his leg in the first half. Carmody didn’t know the extent of the injury.
‘‘I have so much respect for Northwestern and the way they play the game,’’ Michigan coach John Beilein said, endorsing the Wildcats for the tournament. ‘‘Let’s look at this: We beat them twice in overtime, but we could be 0-2 against them and they’re in [the tournament]. You watch them play, and it’s a thing of beauty.’’
Davide Curletti helped the Wildcats take a 31-24 halftime lead, scoring seven of his 12 points in the first half. But momentum changed in the second half as the Wolverines’ shooting heated up and the Wildcats’ cooled.
Northwestern still had a chance to win in regulation with a minute left, but Shurna missed a shot, then a play designed for Reggie Hearn (11 points) broke down.
Trey Burke (19 points) missed a last-second attempt for Michigan (21-7, 11-4). But the Wolverines didn’t miss much in overtime, taking control with a 9-0 run. They hit three three-pointers and nine of their last 10 free throws. The Wolverines finished with 14 threes.
‘‘Once we got into a rhythm, we made shots, especially in overtime,’’ Beilein said.
The Wildcats were only 3-for-16 from behind the arc.
‘‘We came out with some good energy and had a nice stretch,’’ Carmody said. ‘‘In the second half, it seemed we got worn down, and we turned the ball over 14 times. Those are possessions you can’t get back.’’
The Wildcats have three regular-season games left before the Big Ten tournament.
‘‘I think there was more excitement than anxiety [for the game],’’ Hearn said. ‘‘If you would have been in the locker room, it was loud and everyone was ready to go. I don’t think we felt pressure.
‘‘I think we’ll be fine. We still have a lot to play for.’’