After a lackluster opening night, Northwestern rebounded for an impressive win at Brown. The Wildcats went ahead by 10 at half and kept a comfortable lead throughout, winning 69-56. Here are the biggest takeaways from the game.
1. Is Sanjay Lumpkin going to have an expanded role?
Don't count on this, because we still have a lot of time to go. However, Lumpkin has looked good through the first two games, and he had 15 points and 12 rebounds in this game. We already knew he would be solid on the defensive ends and on the boards, and that's why he starts, but even before the season, Chris Collins didn't seem to think Lumpkin would have too much of an impact on the offensive end. He went as far to say that "we aren't going to run the offense through Sanjay," which is true, but also not something a coach will usually outwardly admit.
Lumpkin still isn't going to have plays run for him, but if his offense develops more than everyone expects — and if the range he's shown continues — then he could provide a serious boost for the Wildcats.
2. JerShon Cobb had a good day
Cobb was off in the opener against Houston Baptists, and after the game, Collins noted that it's unlikely Cobb will play a ton of minutes — his minutes will hover around the low 20s. However, that doesn't mean he won't have an impact. He shot well today and proved why he's widely considered the best player on the team. He won't be head-and-shoulders above the rest of the team, but if he can be a really good shooter on a team short on them, NU will be in solid shape offensively.
3. So ... we greatly underestimated Scottie Lindsey
In our pregame minutes projections, we only saw Lindsey getting about two minutes per game. Clearly, we underestimated him. He had eight point today and has shown an ability to do a lot more than most people expected. He's coming off a senior year injury, and he definitely needs to put on some muscle, but he can defend well, get into the lane and be a very productive shooter. He's going to be a big part of the rotation.
- It wasn't a great day for Alex Olah. He has the potential to be good, but he needs to be more consistent than he's been.
- After two good games, Bryant McIntosh struggled a bit. But it's nice to see that NU can be successful even if its best players aren't playing great. There are a lot of guys who can step up.
- There were a couple offensive sets in the second half with absolutely beautiful passing. One led to an open three for JerShon Cobb, and another led to a missed open three. We saw fewer examples of last year's offense happening in this game.
- These announcers were quite possibly the worst in history. They were realllllyyy angry every time a call didn't go their way.
- NU was actually a 2-point underdog and KenPom predicted a close game, with NU having a 53 percent chance of winning at a projected score of 64-63.
Here are a couple of pictures from the scene at the game, courtesy of Jonathan Hodges. Pretty crazy to see a Big Ten team playing in an environment like this. Brown's arena, the Pizzitola Center, only holds 2,800 fans, and there weren't that many there tonight.
Here's the view from behind the bench:
And here's a cool view of the arena:
The Advanced Stats
eFG% — 52%
Def. eFG% — 43%
PPP — 1.08
Def. PPP — 0.85
Off Reb. % — 37%
Def Reb. % — 82%