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Northwestern 79, UMass Lowell 57: Press conference notes

Northwestern withstood a poor first half to blow the River Hawks away in the second. Here's what Chris Collins, Alex Olah and Aaron Falzon had to say:

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In their first regular season game of the 2015-16 campaign, the Wildcats played horribly in the first half and incredibly well in the second half, leading to a relatively easy 79-57 win over the UMass Lowell River Hawks. Chris Collins, Alex Olah and Aaron Falzon spoke about the victory:

Chris Collins

  • On how well NU's opponent played: "I want to give UMass Lowell a lot of credit. They had a good gameplan and are just a scrappy team."
  • On the difficulty of a season opener: "It ceases to amaze me. Every year you battle jitters in your first game." He said they ran a set play the first time down the floor "to get Alex a layup and get the air out of the balloon."
  • On his team's first half struggles: "We couldn't have shot worse than we did in the first half." Collins also said how important it was to keep the deficit relatively low so the game didn't get away.
  • On taking what UMass Lowell gave the Wildcats offensively: "I told the guys we have to take our shots if that's what we're giving us."
  • On Sanjay Lumpkin's play: "Sanjay had 12 rebounds, three assists and no turnovers. Obviously we'd like him to get six to eight points but he still played a really solid game."
  • On the importance of limiting their deficit heading into the break: "We had a key stretch at the end of the first half when we got out and ran, getting more into the transition game. It was big to cut it to two by the half.
  • On Falzon, who scored 20 points in his college debut: "He's as good a shooter as anyone in the country." Collins also said how there's more to his game than just outside shooting: "When people chase him off the three-point line he can show them other things, like that great spin move."
  • On his team's second half improvement: "We wore them down a little and made some shots too. Our size was also a big advantage for us." He mentioned how important it was to get Olah the ball, which the Wildcats were able to do after the intermission.
  • On Vic Law: "He'll have surgery this week." Collins also talked about how vocal he is on the bench, even though he's injured: "I heard him all game talking to everyone."

Alex Olah

  • On his tough defensive matchup: "It was tough but we prepared for it in practice. I was guarding Jordan Ash and Sanjay Lumpkin to prepare for the game. I took it as a challenge even though it was not easy. I just had to body him up."
  • On his team's rough start: "We were something like 1-for-13 from three at half. That had a lot to do with [UMass Lowell] coming out and being ready to play."
  • On the second half turnaround: "It was good just to see the ball go through the basket. We realized they were getting tired and just pushed harder to get the lead."
  • On his own play: "It was good. I knew I was going to have a size advantage against this team at the rim. When I have such a big mismatch, I have to punish people and I knew I could do that."
  • On his role as a leader: "I'm a senior. We have a bunch of freshman and sophomores who are looking up to me. My role is to keep everybody energized and make sure they never doubt themselves."

Aaron Falzon

  • On his second half shooting success: "The guards found me and I just starting hitting some shots. It just went from there."
  • On his first college basketball game: "It's hard to describe the experience, it's something you just get to experience it once. I'm glad it's over now, though."