With the Spain trip coming to an end, Northwestern basketball definitely wanted to finish on a strong note before heading back stateside. The Wildcats, in the fifth game of their sojourn to Europe, did just that, beating French side USA Toulouges by a score of 70-44.
Playing at Pavello Esportiu Municipal for the second day in a row, Northwestern--as well as USA Toulouges--looked like a tired team in the first half. Neither team was able to string together much offensive momentum, leading to a slower-paced contest.
The Wildcats led 20-14 after a slow first quarter in which most of the offense came from yesterday's hero, Tre Demps (10 points in the frame), as well as freshman Dererk Pardon.
The game, lacking distinguishable flow according to the team's Twitter account, slugged through during the second quarter before a late push--resulting in a 14-4 run--gave the Wildcats a 39-27 advantage at the break.
Halftime: Northwestern 39, USA Toulouges 27. #B1GCats end the half on a 14-4 run. Tre Demps leads the way with 13 points.— NU Men's Basketball (@NUMensBball) August 30, 2015
However ugly the first half was for Northwestern, the second half was the complete opposite. The Wildcats were able to find an offensive groove while holding USA Toulouges to just 17 points over the final two quarters. Demps continued his strong scoring stretch with 17 points by the end of the third.
Both teams manage on 9 points apiece in 3rd quarter. Northwestern up 48-36 entering last period. Demps with 17 points.— NU Men's Basketball (@NUMensBball) August 30, 2015
Then, in the fourth, Northwestern finally made its push to turn this game from a relative nail-biter to a complete blowout, like it has done in the previous wins on the trip. Freshman Aaron Falzon, building off his strong play from the last few games, made a pair of threes to extend the Wildcats' lead to 18, essentially sealing away the win.
From there, the Wildcats would coast to the final buzzer, winning 70-44. That's the team's fourth-consecutive win, meaning the only blemish on the trip for Northwestern was the 84-82 loss in the first game. All four wins have been by 26 or more points.
Tomorrow, the team will take a tour of Camp Nou, which is FC Barcelona's famed stadium. After that, the Wildcats will see a flamenco show and will have a final dinner in Spain before they fly back to Illinois on Tuesday.
The fans at today's game clearly appreciated the strong play of Northwestern, as a bunch went up to Falzon, Alex Olah, Nate Taphorn, Vic Law, Scottie Lindsey and Bryant McIntosh after the game for autographs. The Wildcats are truly an international sensation.
Here are some highlights from the win:
Check out the highlights from tonight’s final game in Spain, a 70-44 win: http://t.co/33SlK9iunT— NU Men's Basketball (@NUMensBball) August 30, 2015
Chris Collins was happy with how his team finished off the trip:
Aaron Falzon was also interviewed after the game: