Despite what Chris Collins may say, North Florida is not a powerhouse by an stretch. Sure they have some players that presented match-up problems for Wildcats: Dallas Moore is a really solid scoring guard and Chris Davenport presented problems for Northwestern's bigs as he was able to use his speed to get to the rim with ease. The one encouraging part of the contest was seeing how much Collins trusts his young players in crunch time and they delivered.
Bryant McIntosh has become the unquestioned leader for Northwestern on the offensive end. He played another solid game, leading the Wildcats in scoring. He was 4-4 from three, making him a dangerous weapon, especially in the pick-and-roll. His shooting provides an element that Northwestern's ball-handlers couldn't last season.
Sanjay Lumpkin's start to this season has been surprising to say the least. His offensive game has grown leaps and bounds since the end of his freshman season. While Collins continues to say that Lumpkin's role in the offense is for him to pickup random garbage buckets and that no plays are ran for him, the most encouraging sign from Lumpkin's play is that he is picking up a lot of his points in the flow of the offense. Against North Florida, Lumpkin was aggressively looking for his shot. He was ball-faking and driving and finishing well off the bounce. He also worked as a small-ball five down the stretch which gave Northwestern an interesting and versatile lineup.
Looking at his stat line, Vic Law had a really solid all-around performance. His four assists were really impressive as he is such a good ball-mover on the perimeter and has nice vision when he drives the lane. The concerning part of Law's game was how often he settled for jumpers. Of his five field goals, Law shot four from three-point range and hit just one.
If it wasn't for this game-winner, Demps wouldn't be getting as high of a grade. The shooting guard scored 15 points on 15 shots. Sure, Demps will never be the most efficient player, but he spends a lot of time dribbling without intention. He was proficient coming around ball screens, which was nice to see.
Alex Olah had a rough game, no matter which way you look at it. Offensively, the big man couldn't get anything going. He had no touch around the rim and his post moves have become predictable (he's spinning right almost every time). Defensively, he got beaten off the dribble often by North Florida bigs. That's especially concerning considering that the Big Ten has some talented stretch bigs that could dominate Olah.
Scottie Lindsey's role is becoming more and more defined early in the season. He's a shooter off the bench. He, along with Demps, gives Northwestern a really good bench scoring combo. He played some nice minutes and hit a three in his 12 minutes.
Dave Sobolewski did exactly what he needed to against North Florida. He came in, didn't commit a turnover and nailed an open three. That's going to have to be his role. He's a veteran presence off the bench and if he can shoot a little bit, he could be a nice piece in relief of McIntosh.
It wasn't Jeremiah Kreisberg's finest hour and it showed when, after playing the first half, Collins opted to go with freshman Gavin Skelly in the second half. Kreisberg, like Olah, was beaten off the dribble a couple times by North Florida bigs.
Gavin Skelly's energy turned the game around for Northwestern in the second half. The Wildcats were doing little to inspire any sort of confidence until Skelly came in. This tweet pretty much sums up his game:
Skelly just jacked a guy up on a screen then was fouled chasing after a rebound. Brings an energy that Olah and Kreisberg don’t down low.— InsideNU (@insidenu) November 21, 2014
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