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Northwestern 79, Fairfield 72: Press conference notes

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Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

EVANSTON, Illinois -- Beginning a stretch of four games in seven days, Northwestern (2-0) held off Fairfield (0-3) 79-72 Wednesday night. The Stags closed the Wildcats' lead late in the second half, cutting what was a 16-point second-half deficit to just three. Northwestern plays again Friday night, hosting Columbia.

Here's what Northwestern head coach Chris Collins, guard Bryant McIntosh and forward Sanjay Lumpkin had to say about the win:

Chris Collins

- On how Fairfield was able to climb back in the second half: "I thought we did a lot of good things to get a 16-point lead. And then we started fouling... And all the sudden... they start smelling that they're in the game...We had that stretch where we kept fouling and I knew it was going to come back to bite us." He said the team did get tight for stretches late in the second half.

- On McIntosh and his game-high 20 points: "McIntosh was sensational. I thought he was a big time player tonight. He made every play for us... He was making plays. He was finding guys... He wants the ball and I want him to have the ball."

- Collins called Northwestern's ability to take care of the ball on the perimeter "huge."

- He also made a point to mention Friday night's game against Columbia. Collins said he wants there to be a good atmosphere at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

- On Falzon and his hot start: "He's as good a shooter as there is in college basketball... [But] he's not just a one-trick pony... He's added a dimension to us out there on the floor."

- On Tre Demps, who finished 4-16 from the field: "We got to get Tre going and he will get going... He just hasn't had one of those games yet. I'm not worried about it."

- Collins was relatively pleased with the play of big men Alex Olah and Joey van Zegeren. He really praised van Zegeren's energy and hustle.

- On the aggressive start to the second-half: "I thought we were settling a little bit. When you hit a few shots early, it's like fools gold. You get jump shot happy."

- On why Ted Valentine called a technical foul on the bench with just 1.7 seconds left in the game: "The bench was standing, is what he said."

Bryant McIntosh

- McIntosh said he made a conscious effort to get to the basket against Fairfield. He said it was one of his priorities this summer to be able to keep his dribble alive coming off of ball screens.

Sanjay Lumpkin

- Lumpkin said that keeping a close eye on Fairfield's Marcus Gilbert was important. Northwestern forced the star wing player into five turnovers on the night.

- On what needs to improve before facing Columbia: "Our defense and toughness definitely has to get better for Friday."