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After Beating Kentucky Saturday, Baylor Falls
December 04, 2012
By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

WACO, Texas - Time for a little compare and contrast.

Kentucky has made more NCAA Tournament appearances and won more NCAA Tournament games than any school. The Wildcats are also defending national champions.

Northwestern has never played in the NCAA Tournament.

Saturday in Lexington Baylor stunned Kentucky, 64-55. The loss ended the school's 55-game home-court winning streak and eventually led to the Wildcats slipping out of the top 25. The schedule dictated a visit from Northwestern Tuesday night.

In college basketball, it doesn't matter who you play, a sub-par effort against a good team often creates an adverse result. The Wildcats (7-2) further embellished the Big Ten Conference's reputation with a 74-70 victory over the Bears (5-3).

"No question, it's frustrating," Baylor coach Scott Drew. "We'll work toward trying to find consistency from the free throw line, with our shooting. We took too many threes. They got second-chance points with offensive rebounds.

"You can't dig yourself that big a hole."

That pit was 18 points with just over 11 minutes remaining. A furious rally teased the home folks but never had the ball with the chance to tie. After an A.J. Walton steal and pass, Gary Franklin missed a point-blank layup with 39 seconds remaining that could have made it 70-67.

"Huge," Drew said. "When you have to come back like that, every shot, every possession is crucial."

Sophomore guard Dave Sobolewski, one of five Northwestern starters to score in double figures, made a 3-pointer from the corner to give the Wildcats a 35-32 halftime lead. The momentum carried into the second half and turned into a 16-1 run.

"Hitting that shot at the buzzer and the first six, seven minutes of the second half we built up a good lead," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "We were fortunate to do that because they came back like gang busters."

Baylor missed 11 of its first 13 shots to start the second half and struggled at the free throw line after intermission, missing nine attempts - misses that loomed large as the Bears tried to rally.

"They wanted it more than we did," said Baylor senior point guard Pierre Jackson, who had a team-high 18 points but missed seven of eight 3-point attempts.

"We didn't play with the same intensity that we finished the game with," Baylor's A.J. Walton said. "The last 10 or 15 minutes we got after it and got on a run. We made some mental mistakes and got caught on some back doors. No excuses for it. I lead on the defensive end and I wasn't there tonight."

Northwestern was successful scoring inside and rebounding. 11 of the Wildcats' 25 field goals were layups, dunks or follow shots. They also had a 37-24 rebounding edge. Baylor also was out-rebounded by 10 at Kentucky.

"No way we should get out-rebounded, period," Walton said.

"That was really important to get some stuff done inside," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "We never have a rebounding edge. I was happy we beat 'em on the boards."

During the first two months of the college basketball season, when over 350 Division I teams mix and match in non-conference games, anything can happen. The same day Baylor defeated Kentucky, Northwestern lost at home to Illinois-Chicago.

"I never know what to expect," Carmody said. "We've got seven freshmen and two transfers. Tonight was so different than three days ago."

The last time the Bears played in the Ferrell Center, they lost to College of Charleston, which played at home and lost to No. 5 Louisville, 80-38.

"Everything is challenging nowadays," Drew said. "Look at the parity, across the board there are so many quality teams."

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