Northwestern rebounded from the debacle against Central Michigan with a victory over Western Michigan at Welsh-Ryan. Here are some notes and initial reactions from the win:
-It was a story of two halves, as Northwestern trailed 28-25 at halftime but came back for a 67-61 victory. The game started with another Northwestern scoring drought. NU was down 11-2 at the under-16 timeout. The 'Cats had nothing going toward the hoop and settled for a lot of contested threes. They were 2-11 from deep in the first half.
-Western Michigan, on the other hand, was penetrating with ease, and NU consistently overcommitted on double teams. They didn't have any defense rotation, and the Broncos capitalized by knocking down six threes in the first half.
-The Wildcat offense came alive in the second half. They started the half shooting 8-11 from the floor as Tre Demps finally found his rhythm, knocked down some outside jumpers and finished with 17 points. The ball movement improved immensely, and just about everyone got an easy bucket in the lane.
-Scottie Lindsey and Nathan Taphorn saw the court more than usual. Taphorn's offensive role looked a bit different, as more often he was coming off screens than setting them, and he turned it into 10 points, including a couple three pointers. Lindsey looked natural in the flow of the offense and got some high-percentage hoops off backdoor cuts. Both Taphron and Lindsey made their fair share of defensive errors though.
-Alex Olah and Sanjay Lumpkin disappeared for much of the second half, partly due to foul trouble and partly due to the bench's success. Olah still finished with double-digit rebounds, and the team was all over the offensive boards in the second half. Without the second-chance points, Northwestern definitely could've given this one away.
-Early this season, Northwestern seemed like it could pride itself on its defense again. After giving up 80 points to Central Michigan and this ugly performance, that may not be the case. WMU was in the bonus early in both halves. The Wildcats had trouble communicating on defense, which led to a lot of breakdowns. They didn't rotate well on screens and allowed WMU to exploit their greatest asset, the three-point shot. It was a low-scoring affair, but it's obvious Northwestern has defensive issues to address.