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Northwestern-Sacred Heart recap: Player grades from the Wildcats' 103-67 win

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All of the Wildcats passed Monday's test with flying colors.

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

After Saturday's scare against DePaul, the Wildcats came out ready to play against a clearly outmatched Sacred Heart team in a huge and dominant home win.

The tallest Pioneers' starter was 6-foot-7, and Northwestern took advantage of the height difference by feeding Alex Olah early and often. Chris Collins' team showed no sign of its poor shooting over the weekend Saturday, knocking down long-range attempts at a 52 percent clip on Monday night. The starters led the Wildcats to a 16-point halftime lead which the backups would only stretch in the second half.

Tonight's win was exactly what Northwestern should do against lesser opponents, like in reaching the century mark in points for the first time since last December's game against Mississippi Valley State. Also, every single player contributed. in a positive way, which is always nice to get in a non-conference win.

Here's how NU's individual players graded out in the win:

Overall: A-

Bryant McIntosh: B+

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
9 10 1 3-4 27

McIntosh scored very efficiently, taking just four shots and going 3-for-3 from beyond the arc, including a contested triple to beat the first half buzzer. It always seems like the sophomore is able to hit a timely shot whenever the Wildcats need one. His second three extended the NU lead after six unanswered points by the Pioneers. Also, his 10 assists were the most of his season, as he was phenomenal at finding the open shooter at the top of the key as well as unselfishly running the fast break.

What kept McIntosh from getting an A were his three turnovers since he tried to force a couple of unnecessary passes and got careless with the ball. He didn't show the same control over the tempo of the game that he had on Saturday against DePaul.

Tre Demps: A-

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
17 5 3 6-12 29

Another impressive gave from Demps, who started the Northwestern three-point barrage for Northwestern by giving the Wildcats a 7-4 lead that they wouldn't relinquish. The senior showed improvement from Saturday's game by passing up on open looks early in possessions and waiting to run the offense. He did this by maintaining his aggressiveness, attacking the basket and shooting rhythm threes with no hesitation. The five assists were a nice touch to an overall solid night.

Aaron Falzon: B-

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
9 2 1 3-7 29

The points battle between the Falzon brothers fittingly ended in a 9-9 tie. With his family in attendance, NU's top freshman drilled two threes against brother Tevin's Sacred Heart team and showed nice touch around the rim on a three-point play, but he didn't do much else. Despite playing the second-most minutes of his young career, Falzon only grabbed one rebound -- his lowest total of the season. Still, it's impressive how Falzon can shake off his previous misses and confidently shoot the ball without passing up good chances. He looks more comfortable every game.

Sanjay Lumpkin: B

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
7 2 4 2-3 17

Quiet night for Lumpkin after his phenomenal performance on Saturday. He knocked down a wide open three -- which is always important to see from him -- and his other points came on a layup and free throws. We're used to seeing a bit more activity from Lumpkin on the glass, and while he did have a nice Joakim Noah-esque tapout to extend a possession, his four rebounds were unusually low. In fairness, he only played 17 minutes in favor of Skelly and Taphorn as the game got out of hand.

Alex Olah: A-

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
21 0 5 8-10 20

Olah did exactly what he should be doing against undersized teams, which is establishing himself down low and going up strong to the rim. He scored 11 of the first 16 Wildcat points and was very efficient offensively. Olah's rebound totals were down a bit, though, which is probably because of his light, 20-minute workload in a blowout win. However, Northwestern did allow 10 offensive rebounds to Sacred Heart, partly due to Olah's significant time of the bench, which is probably still bothering Chris Collins.

On the other hand, Olah foolishly contested a three that led to a four-point play for the Pioneers, which led to his third foul of the game. Foul trouble hampered Olah and other Wildcats on DePaul and has been an issue all season.

Scottie Lindsey: A-

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
11 6 4 4-7 24

It's hard to ask for much more from Lindsey. He went 3-for-5 from three and was aggressive with his shot all game. He also showcased his athleticism with a two-handed breakaway jam that will surely be featured on Northwestern basketball pregame hype videos for years to come. The one thing about Lindsey is how hesitant he is passing the ball at times, more specifically, down low to Olah in the post. He's a very confident shooter but lacks that same moxie on his entry passes. It's definitely something for the sophomore to work on in Northwestern's final non-conference game against Loyola (MD).

Nate Taphorn: A-

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
11 1 6 4-7 13

Taphorn was the one bench player who didn't see a spike in his minutes this game. He was very efficient though, with 11 points, including a surprising dunk on a fastbreak in the second half. He did struggle a bit on the glass when he was playing the four -- which has been an issue for him all season -- which is another reason why it's hard to imagine him being slotted in at anything other than the three in Big Ten play

Gavin Skelly: B+

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
8 2 5 3-5 21

Tonight was an interesting game for Skelly who is a bit undersized at the five. He allowed a few offensive rebounds and second chance layups, but was very active on the offensive glass. He's aggressive offensively, as usual which is good to an extent, but that same aggressiveness led him to throw up an ambitious layup instead of kicking the ball out for an open three.

Skelly also brought the ball below his shoulders against a smaller defender that resulted in a turnover; he likely could have gone straight up with it. Additionally, he picked up two unnecessary off-ball fouls, one on each end, which is partially because of compensation for his size disadvantage. Plenty to improve on, but it was an encouraging effort from Skelly on both ends of the floor. It's also worth mentioning that he had a big block late in the game.

Jordan Ash: A

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
10



Similarly to McIntosh, Ash plays very steady and in control, which are essential characteristics for a point guard. Ash's two assists were pretty -- the first coming off a slash to the basket where he found Olah for a 15-footer and the second on  an offensive rebound free throw attempt. Ash also hit a deep three with the shot clock winding down before bringing the crowd at Welsh-Ryan to its feet with his baseline dunk in Northwestern's final possession.

Charlie Hall: A

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
0 0 0 0 4

Hall picked up his second trillion of the season, an impressive feat, especially in four minutes. He actually corralled an errant pass and played solid defense against Sacred Heart's starters. With this performance, Hall could be a contender for Club Trillion National Player of the Year (RIP Grantland).