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UIC stymies error-prone Northwestern

Josh Crittle Drew Crawford

Josh Crittle, Drew Crawford

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Updated: January 3, 2013 11:01AM

Northwestern knows it isn’t the type of team that can overcome too many mistakes. It prides itself on being the more disciplined team each time it takes the floor.

So considering the Wildcats’ overwhelming carelessness in a 50-44 loss to UIC on Saturday at Welsh-Ryan Arena, it was surprising they were even in the game.

The Cats turned the ball over 16 times, while shooting 50 percent from the free-throw line and 42 percent from the field.

“All our passes, it looked like guys were open, but our execution wasn’t good,” coach Bill Carmody said. “The guys know what to do, but some passes were late and behind guys, but give [the Flames] credit.”

True, the Wildcats (6-2) executed their offense, as long as their starters were on the floor.

But with only four players on the roster who have seen significant playing time in their careers, Carmody has been left with very few options on the bench.

When his starters struggled in the first half, Carmody looked to his bench for a spark. But the game became even more disastrous with reserves on the floor. They scored five points for the game.

Senior Drew Crawford was the only Wildcat who had a decent offensive performance. He finished with a game-high 18 points despite a slow start.

It was the second consecutive game Northwestern struggled on offense. They shot 34 percent in a 77-57 home loss to Maryland on Tuesday.

“We were getting decent looks, but like coach said [to the team], some of the shots that we usually hit, they just weren’t falling, and that’s tough because we were playing good defense,” Crawford said.

Having seen Northwestern during his five-year stint at Wisconsin, UIC coach Howard Moore prepared his team well for the Wildcats’ quick-cutting offense. Throughout the game, the Flames (6-1) were able to stymie Northwestern’s back cuts, a staple of Carmody’s offense.

The Flames have won five consecutive games, the longest streak of Moore’s tenure.

“Going into this season, no one thought that UIC would do anything, and we took notice of that,” Moore said. “But at the same time, we relish in the fact that we’ve worked our tails off, and the results are going to come.”

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