Wisconsin defeats Huskie men 84-56 in NABC Classic title game



November 16, 2002


Box Score




MADISON, WI---Northern Illinois University's men's basketball team saw first-hand the key ingredients necessary for an NCAA tournament-caliber team. Defending Big Ten Conference co-champion University of Wisconsin played the role of teacher Saturday (Nov. 16), handing the Huskies an 84-56 lesson in the championship game of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Classic.


Freddie Owens and Kirk Penney scored 19 points apiece as Wisconsin captured the tourney title on its home floor, improving to
2-0 on the season. Northern Illinois dropped to 1-1.


"Wisconsin is a very good team. They have a lot of talent, and you have to guard them," Northern Illinois coach Rob Judson admitted. "Their dribble-penetration hurt us tonight.


"We tried to play a lot of different defenses, but that didn't matter," the NIU sideline boss added. "They beat us in one-on-one situations on any defense we were in."


The Huskies' quickness neutralized UW's height advantage at the outset as Wisconsin led just 11-9 following Marcus Smallwood's (Elgin) jumper 7:15 into the contest. The Huskies remained within three points (14-11) on two Smallwood free throws a minute later but three-pointers from Boo Wade and Alando Tucker enabled the Badgers to claim a 22-13 lead with nine minutes left in the half.


The margin stretched into double digits (26-16) on an Owens lay-up at the 5:03 mark as Wisconsin held Northern Illinois to just three field goals in a 10:25 span to take a 35-20 lead to the locker room.


Tucker led all scorers with nine points at the break while Mike Wilkinson and Owens added seven apiece for the hosts. Smallwood and Eugene "Jay" Bates (Chicago / Robeson) each tallied six points in the opening 20 minutes for Northern Illinois. The Huskies hit just 36 percent (eight-of-22) from the field in the first half.


Smallwood started the second half with an alley-oop slam dunk off Jamel Staten's (Minneapolis, MN / North) pass but Wisconsin scored the next nine points to take command. Owens' three-pointer and a lay-up by Dave Mader increased the cushion to 44-22 and Northern Illinois never got closer than 20 points the rest of the way.


The Badgers led by as many as 31 points when Kirk Penney broke free for a lay-up, putting Wisconsin ahead 73-42 with 4:46 to play. The senior guard, a preseason All-Big Ten selection, had 14 of his 19 points in the second half when the outcome was decided.


"The final score doesn't look good, but I'm not worried about that. As a coach, you look to make progress and take positives out of a game. We did that tonight," Judson added. "I think we grew as a team tonight and this experience will help us in the long run."


As a team, Northern Illinois shot 44 percent (23-of-62) from the field while the Badgers connected on 32 of 67 shots (47 percent). But 18 Huskie turnovers led to 22 Wisconsin points while UW committed only six miscues.


Smallwood earned a spot on the all-tournament team after posting a team-best 13 points Saturday, along with 15 points plus six rebounds in NIU's 56-50 victory over Winthrop University on Friday (Nov. 15). Bates added 11 points in Saturday's contest, hitting all five of his shots from the field while Staten had nine points and eight rebounds.


Owens snared tournament Most Valuable Player honors, joining Smallwood and Penney on the tournament honor roll, along with Eastern Washington University's Alvin Snow and Winthrop's Tyrone Walker. EWU took third place in the tournament by defeating Winthrop 75-61 in the first game Saturday night.


The crowd of 16,347 marks the second-largest ever to watch a Huskie basketball contest, a total exceeded only by the 18,462 on hand to watch NIU 83-72 loss to the University of South Carolina at the Chicago Stadium on Jan. 29, 1972.


Northern Illinois begins the home portion of the schedule Saturday (Nov. 23) versus DePaul University at the Convocation Center. That 5:35 p.m. contest is part of "The Big Weekend" of Huskie athletics, with the NIU women's basketball team hosting the University of Wisconsin at 7:05 p.m. Friday (Nov. 22).


The Northern Illinois football squad battled the University of Toledo for the Mid-American Conference West Division title in an 11:05 a.m. matinee Sunday, and the weekend concludes Sunday (Nov. 24) when NIU's wrestling team faces two-time national champion University of Minnesota at 2 p.m. at the Convocation Center.


-30- -- Copy by Robert Hester



Frazier Corner Promotions Follow The Huskies Fan Guide Recruits Shop