EVANSTON, Ill. — After a career-high 23-point performance, Alex Olah appeared dejected. His seven-foot frame slouched, his head faced downward and his voice was soft and muddled.
Sure, the sophomore center probably played the best game of his young career. But the 27-point drubbing Northwestern (7-7, 0-1) took at the hands of (4) Wisconsin (14-0, 1-0) completely overshadowed Olah’s big night.
“We’ve got to learn from what we did today, from our mistakes,” Olah said.
After the first few minutes, Wisconsin pulled away and never let Northwestern back into the game. The Badgers finished the first half up 40-14.
“To start the game, we were doing what we wanted to do,” Northwestern head coach Chris Collins said after the 76-49 loss. “We wanted to keep the possessions down. We wanted to play a lower-possession game and not just run up and down the floor with them. The thing that really hurt us was that we couldn’t score the ball.”
Aside from Olah, Northwestern was 9-41 from the field (22 percent) and scored 26 points.
“For us to be successful, we need [Drew] Crawford and [JerShon] Cobb to give us between 30 and 40 points. It just is what it is. Tonight they get 17. It’s gonna be hard for us to manufacture enough points to win games if we don’t get production out of those guys. And when I say that, it’s on me to put them in positions where they can score and get fouled and just get some production.”
Crawford and Cobb finished a combined 6-23 from the field.
Northwestern’s offense has struggled all season and Collins acknowledged that the reliance on Crawford and Cobb is an unfortunate reality about this current team.
Against Wisconsin in particular, Collins said he tried to mix up offenses to give Northwestern a better chance to score. None of it, though, was working.
“Look, we’re trying everything,” Collins said with an almost hopeless expression on his face. “You kind of are who you are, but you’ve gotta play. You guys have seen. We do different things offensively. We do different things defensively.”
Northwestern did go to a few zones in the second half, but nothing could slow down the undefeated Badgers.
Northwestern travels to Ann Arbor on Sunday in a matchup with Michigan.