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Northwestern 81, Southern Illinois Edwardsville 56: Press Conference Notes

Aaron Falzon with the *mic drop* of the year.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

EVANSTON -- Northwestern finished off the first section of its non-conference schedule with an 81-56 win over Southern Illinois Edwardsville on Saturday afternoon. Now, the Wildcats have eight days off for finals week after compiling a 7-1 record over the opening stretch. Northwestern was led in scoring by Alex Olah's 21 points, followed closely by Aaron Falzon's 17.

Here's what head coach Chris Collins, as well as Olah and Falzon had to say about the win:

Chris Collins

- Collins started the press conference mentioning the play of Olah: "Main takeaway from this game was getting Alex going again... We hadn't established him down on the post." He continued later, mentioning that it was part of the gampelan to get the big man involved. He finished with 21 points in 23 minutes. "A lot of times, we run the first play to try to get him the ball. We did and he scored... Sometimes he loses confidence easily... Today, I saw him get back to himself." Collins also mentioned backup center Joey van Zegeren's stat line: six points, eight rebounds and five blocks in 16 minutes.

- For the first time this season, Northwestern didn't get a big scoring effort from its guards Bryant McIntosh and Tre Demps. The backcourt duo combined for just 18 points. But, they added 15 assists and just four turnovers. "We're a team that moves the ball... But, those guys have carried us. And they will carry us... With our shooting ability, if you want to take those guys out of the game, we can hurt you."

- Northwestern now has eight days before its next game against Chicago State on Dec. 13. "Going into finals, it's always good to feel good about winning. It's not always the easiest game to play... We have eight days to get out legs back. We're a little bit, tired. A little bit banged up."

- On Scottie Lindsey starting the game, but only playing four second-half minutes: "I feel pretty good with what we're finding with this team [in terms of a rotation]." Collins mentions that he has found pairs of players (Gavin Skelly and Sanjay Lumpkin, and van Zegeren and Olah) that are similar enough to sub for each other. "Then we have those three shooters. You've seen so far that I look for the guy with the hot hand."

- Collins also gave a bit of an assessment on the state his team through eight games: "I expect a lot of my teams... My expectations haven't changed. My expectation is to go into every game with a great chance to win... I think we're a really dangerous offensive team... We have to continue to get better defensively. Our heart is in the right place... But, we need to continue to shore up that end of the floor so there's a good balance... If you would have said to me that we would win seven out of eight and a bunch of close games away from home, I'd take it."

- Although the 25-point win was the second-largest margin of victory for Northwestern this year, Collins said, "I might have felt the best after the UNC game out of all the games..because I saw looks on guys faces that said, 'We can be really good.'"

Alex Olah

- On his involvement early in the game: "That was kind of the gameplan... [Collins and I] kind of both felt it before the game that this would be the breakthrough... I just said, 'This is it. I can't have anymore games where I score four points, or whatever.'"

- Olah also says he's more comfortable working off of ball screens. Now, he says he can pop or roll after setting the screen and is quicker to decide whether he should shoot, attack or advance the ball to the weak side.

Aaron Falzon

- If you didn't see it yet, Falzon nailed a three without one of his shoes in the first half. He says he it got kicked off the possession prior while running back on defense. When Northwestern came back on offense, van Zegeren chucked it off the floor. Falzon kept playing and when he got the ball with some space to shoot, he says, "Coach always says to shoot it, so I put it up."

- Falzon also contributed an early candidate for quote of the year. A reporter asked him how big the rim looked after hitting five three-pointers in a row. His answer: "It looks really big everyday." Spoken like a true shooter.