Northwestern played its best game of the season when it faced No. 23 Butler at historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. Despite the loss, Northwestern stuck with Butler throughout the game. The Wildcats shot pretty well from the field, especially in comparison to to recent performances. Chris Collins and co., though, couldn't break through as Northwestern fell 65-56, the program's eighth-consecutive non-conference loss to teams from a power conference.
What I liked:
I was impressed with the responses of Bryant McIntosh and Vic Law after Collins opted to bench the two freshmen in favor of putting veterans Dave Sobolewski and Tre Demps in the starting lineup. Both McIntosh and Law played their worst games of the season in Northwestern's previous game, an eight-point home loss to Georgia Tech. Law who had five turnovers in 13 minutes against Georgia Tech, played solid basketball all game. He played well defensively, knocked down a bunch of tough shots and moved the ball well on the perimeter. He finished with 10 points.
McIntosh was far more assertive on offense even while playing in a tough road environment. He led Northwestern with 12 points. Sure, the freshmen stars didn't start against Butler, but they earned Collins trust back as they played valuable minutes down the stretch.
What I didn't like:
I was surprised with Collins' reluctance to play Scottie Lindsey or Johnnie Vassar. Gavin Skelly, who played in the first half, didn't see the floor in the second half either. The group of young freshmen had been impressive for the Wildcats in moments early this season, but Collins decided to go with the veteran presence.
Also, Tre Demps had a rough go. He was forcing a lot of shots and was never able to find a rhythm. He finished with just four points on 1-8 shooting. He was also absent down the stretch as Collins benched him until one minute was left in the game.