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Northwestern basketball drops Spain opener to Estudiantes, 84-82

On day 3 of their trip, NU led most of the way, but faded in the second half as it fell to 0-1 on the trip with four games left.

Tre Demps attempts a layup during Northwestern's game on 8/24/15 in Spain.
Tre Demps attempts a layup during Northwestern's game on 8/24/15 in Spain.

After spending the morning of their second day in Spain touring Madrid, the Wildcats suited up against pro Spanish team CB Estudiantes for their first of five games scheduled on the trip. After an even first half which ended with a 44-44 score, Northwestern held court in the third quarter before allowing a 9-2 run to start the fourth that shifted the momentum away from the Wildcats for the rest of the game.

True freshman Aaron Falzon impressed in the first half, scoring seven points in his first actual game playing with his teammates. Junior Sanjay Lumpkin also added seven points in the first while Tre Demps led the way with 11 as Northwestern and Estudiantes battled to a tie after two quarters.

There wasn't live streaming of the game (we're relying on the program's account of the game on social media), so it's impossible to tell just how well top recruit Falzon fared, but we do know he was aggressive in getting to the hoop. That's a very important part of his game, considering how his 6-foot-8 frame will have to hold up in the tough, physical Big Ten.

The Wildcats got off to a good start in the second half, knocking down some important threes to distance themselves from Estudiantes. Vic Law (13 points, 4-5 from three) and Bryant McIntosh (seven points, 3-12 from the field) each hit one, which is a good sign for Chris Collins' two most important sophomores.

However, Northwestern let up at the beginning of the fourth quarter, allowing Estudiantes to get right back into the game and take a lead that would, more or less, define the rest of the contest. Northwestern answered right back with a run to grab the advantage but relented yet again and did not lead for the remainder of the game.

The game did go down to the wire, though, as NU was down just 83-82 with 4.1 seconds after a Demps layup. Estudiantes would split a pair of free throws, allowing the Wildcats to attempt a potential game-winning halfcourt shot that was close, but did not go in. After four, closely-contested quarters, Estudiantes was ahead 84-82 and took home the win.

Demps (19 points) led the Wildcats while Alex Olah (14 points) and Law (14 points) contributed nicely. Falzon (11 points) provided a nice boost off the bench, but struggled from beyond the arc, making just one of his nine three-point attempts.

Fellow freshmen Jordan Ash and Dererk Pardon didn't do much in limited playing time while forward Nathan Taphorn didn't play due to a foot injury, which will keep him sidelined for the entire trip. Virgina Tech transfer Joey Van Zegeren was scoreless in his first 10 minutes as a Wildcat.

The team doesn't get much of a rest, though, as it's scheduled to play Eurocolegio Casvi tomorrow afternoon in Madrid after touring Real Madrid's Bernabeu Stadium. Eurocolegio Casvi lost 79-64 to Nebraska earlier in August, so Northwestern will be playing a team that's used to competing against a Big Ten foe.


In brighter news, the Wildcats wore some slick, Spain-inspired jerseys for the game that center Alex Olah shared on Instagram. Will we be seeing any more jersey additions to the Wildcats' repertoire on the trip?

Game day!!! #GolpeaLaRoca #B1GCats

A photo posted by Alex Olah (@alex_olah) on

Although the game wasn't televised nor was it streamed online, Northwestern Athletics posted some highlights of the loss on its Youtube account.

Also, Northwestern Athletics posted Chris Collins' reaction to the game. In the roughly 3:30-minute clip, he talked about the importance of his team playing competitively against international pros and also how the Wildcats' poor shooting probably cost them the win.