Sure, the Wildcats (8-4) led from wire to wire against Illinois-Chicago (3-10) but the game would have finished with a much wider margin if it wasn't for an early-second-half lapse from Northwestern. Chris Collins' team seemed to perform a little better on the defensive end, correcting some of the issues inhibiting the team's performance on that side of the ball. Offensively, Northwestern didn't spread out the scoring as much as the team would like to ideally, with just two players in double figures. Overall, the team played well, but has some things to correct ahead of the their next matchup against Northern Kentucky and before Big Ten play.
It was another inefficient day for Tre Demps as he struggled to get anything going. It was encouraging to see him get all the way to the cup on a few occasions, but it's no secret that Demps is in a shooting rut right now. In Northwestern's last three games, Demps is a combined 13-42 (30.9 percent) from the field and 3-19 (15.8 percent) from three-point range.
It's important to point out that along with the above stats, Bryant McIntosh committed six turnovers. So, in the same game, the freshman point guard had a career-high in scoring but also in turnovers. While many of the portraits of McIntosh paint him as a pass-first point guard, that's not his natural style. He often played shooting guard on his AAU teams and, as he's told me, has a knack for scoring. He says he looks up to and studies NBA players such as Stephen Curry (who also sports number 30) and Goran Dragic, two ball-dominant lead guards who can be relied on to put up big numbers in the scoring column. The positives from McIntosh's aggressiveness on the offensive end against UIC far outweigh the damage his six turnovers caused.
Usually a formidable presence on the defensive boards, Sanjay Lumpkin wasn't able to stop UIC's forwards from pulling down 18 offensive rebounds. But Lumpkin, as he's done all season, stepped confidently into three open 3-pointers and knocked down two of them. The more confident Lumpkin is taking open 3s, he becomes a dangerous player for Northwestern opponents in Big Ten play.
I liked what I saw from Law against UIC. He wasn't a major factor offensively, but he was calm and confident. He attacked the lane well and didn't settle for long jumpers.
Apparently UIC didn't read the scouting report on Alex Olah as the Flames couldn't stop Olah from turning over his left shoulder in the post for a right-handed hook. He got off to a hot start but Northwestern stopped going to him consistently as the game went on. The Wildcats did look for him in the second half when UIC would go on a run and he responded well. The next step for Olah is being able to develop a counter move and being able to finish around the rim through contact. Right now, he is struggling to do both.
The bench was a non-factor today for Northwestern. Gavin Skelly provided some good minutes in terms of his energy as he contributed a put-back dunk in relief of Olah. Scottie Lindsey, Dave Sobolewski and Nathan Taphorn didn't really have many opportunities to impact the game in a major way. Lindsey apparently picked up a foot injury in the first half