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The Worst Of Times: Northwestern Sloppy On Both Ends At Purdue

You don't need a journalist to tell you that Northwestern had a bad half against Purdue. So, were there any positives to take from the Wildcats' first-half performance? A couple of quick thoughts:

1. Northwestern got carved up defensively. Point blank. Whether it was D.J. Byrd having too much space on the perimeter, Sandi Marcius getting freed for a wide-open layup under the basket or Terone Johnson having a step on the Northwestern defense for the entire half, the Wildcats never gave themselves a chance. As tempting as it is to blame it on the interior defense, Northwestern continually gives up a step to the guards, forcing the defense to converge inwards. That's not to exonerate the Wildcats' post players. Sandi Marcius and A.J. Hammons won all of their one-on-ones with Mike Turner and Alex Olah. They pushed them around with ease.

2. There are so many players on Northwestern that can just be eliminated from a defense's thoughts. Kale Abrahamson got stuffed on his one drive to the hole. Mike Turner receives the ball at the free-throw line with a lane to the basket, and rather than take a floater, he immediately looks to pass. Turner spends most of the game by the arc, handing it off to a passing guard. There's no threat there.

3. Tre Demps had a couple of good moments, most notably his fadeaway jumper. Dave Sobolewski likely remains this team's best driver. Why Demps, Sobolewski and Alex Olah end up with so few shots each game is beyond me. Olah never even tried posting up against one of the nation's best blockers in Hammons. Giving up the post is a tough thing to do. When all three players refuse to take it on themselves, you end up with Reggie Hearn trying to drive under the basket, forcing a shot and finding the bottom of the backboard.