Northwestern began the regular season with a resounding 94-63 victory over Mississippi Valley State. Spurred on by efficient shooting from the perimeter and a strong scoring output from the bench, the Wildcats cruised to a win. The Delta Devils aren’t the toughest opponent Northwestern will face this year, but the team looked spry and ready to play.
Here’s a rundown of our player grades for each Northwestern player:
Vic Law: A-
18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, 5 turnovers on 7/10 FG, 3/4 3FG, 1/7 FT in 26 minutes
Law had himself a game tonight. Clearly excited to be back on the court, he did a bit of everything, including a thunderous alley oop slam. The turnovers and free-throw shooting are worth keeping an eye on, but one thing is for certain: the Wildcats are a better team when Law is healthy and on the court.
Scottie Lindsey - B+
17 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 turnover on 6/13 FG, 3/6 3FG, 2/2 FT in 29 minutes
If anyone was questioning Lindsey’s presence in the starting lineup, he certainly did his part to silence the doubters. His jump shot looked smooth, and he moved well off the ball. He and Law have both the scoring ability and athleticism to be an effective wing duo.
Bryant McIntosh - B
11 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 2 turnovers on 4/10 FG, 1/6 3FG, 2/2 FT in 29 minutes
As the team’s best player, McIntosh didn’t have to exert himself too much tonight, which is probably a good thing. Northwestern needs him in the tougher games, and frankly, this was far from that. Still, McIntosh put up a solid stat line, although his touch from the outside was lacking.
Sanjay Lumkpin - B+
11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover on 3/4 FG, 0/1 3FG, 5/6 FT in 24 minutes
Lumkpin had a terrific all-around game tonight. His work on the glass was especially impressive, as he created havoc on the interior by chasing offensive boards and got to the line. Despite all the talent the Wildcats have on the wing, Lumpkin proved he still belongs in the starting lineup.
Dererk Pardon - C
4 points, 7 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 0 turnovers on 2/6 FG, 0/1 FT in 21 minutes
It wasn’t a great night for Pardon. The Delta Devils’ speed bothered Pardon, and while he cleaned the glass on both ends, he wasn’t able to take advantage of his size inside. He needs to be better for Northwestern to succeed in the long-term.
Isiah Brown - B
11 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers on 3/8 FG, 0/1 3PA, 5/6 FT in 18 minutes
Brown didn’t have an efficient shooting performance, but he relentlessly attacked the basket and got to the line. It’s great to see Brown not settling for jump shots, especially on a night when he couldn’t get it going. When McIntosh hits the bench, Brown will have to step in and keep the offense humming.
Gavin Skelly - B+
7 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks, 1 steal, 0 turnovers on 1/2 FG, 1/2 3FG, 4/4 FT in 21 minutes
With Pardon struggling, Skelly provided great energy off the bench, swatting four shots and even hitting a three. As the team’s most experienced big man, the onus is on Skelly to contribute, and tonight he proved to be a capable sixth man. How he fares at the center position will be one of the most interesting subplots of the season.
Jordan Ash - C+
6 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 0 turnovers on 2/3 FG, 2/2 3FG in 4 minutes
Ash played all but three seconds of his minutes in garbage time. He canned two triples, but also air-balled a layup. Ash’s touch from the outside is promising, considering he shot 26.7% from downtown last year.
Nathan Taphorn - C+
5 points, 4 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 0 turnovers on 2/4 FG, 1/3 3FG, 0/1 FT in 12 minutes
Taphorn’s role on the team hasn’t changed from last year: Spread the floor and play bad defense. Tonight, he did just that, throwing in a few rebounds to boot. As the season goes on, expect Aaron Falzon to take most of Taphorn’s minutes.
Barret Benson - C
5 points, 4 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 0 turnovers on 2/3 FG in 6 minutes
The Delta Devils played a small lineup all night, making it difficult for Benson to stay on the floor. MSVU took advantage of his lack of mobility, but he used his size to score at the basket and grab some rebounds. After the game, Collins said Benson will see more time in future games.
Aaron Falzon - C
0 points, 1 rebound, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, 0 turnovers on 0/1 FG, 0/1 3FG in 10 minutes
Falzon is dealing with some knee issues, which explains why he played so little. When he was on the court, though, he didn’t contribute much, missing the only shot he took. Seeing him get a couple assists was nice, considering he averaged less than one per game last year.