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Press conference notes: Northwestern vs. Eastern Washington

Chris Collins, Vic Law, and Bryant McIntosh addressed the media after the Wildcats’ 86-72 win.

Josh Burton - Inside NU

Chris Collins:

  • On the team’s performance: “Really proud of the team tonight. The kind of game where you have to show a lot of maturity. This program is an established program that has won big games and has tremendous confidence and belief. I tip my hat to Eastern Washington. They were very hard to guard and you really have to pick your poison with them considering their 3-point shooting.”
  • On the team’s key contributors tonight: “I thought Vic was sensational and made a lot of big plays. Scottie Lindsey gave us great minutes, and B-Mac brought us home down the stretch. Dererk got 2 or 3 blocks in the last minutes which were huge plays.”
  • On the significance of coming out on top tonight: “This was a very big win especially with the games we have coming up.”
  • On the game’s key stretch: “There was about a two-minute stretch in the second half where I took both Vic and Bryant out and the five on the floor actually extended our lead, so that was huge and I was tremendously proud of those guys.”
  • On the reported Johnnie Vassar antitrust lawsuit: “We’ll let those things be handled behind closed doors.”
  • On Bryant McIntosh’s performance: “We need Bryant’s scoring. They were switching everything and we were just trying to get Bliznyuk switched onto Bryant to make him play defense so that we could open up the offense. At the end of the game B-Mac was huge too, its great to have a guy like that to bring us down the stretch.”
  • On Dererk Pardon: “About three weeks ago he had pneumonia. He lost about 15 pounds and it took him a couple weeks to get himself back. But now he’s back and I thought he was really good tonight. It was nice to have a mobile big guy with them playing 4 smalls out on the floor. For him to go 4-5 from the line was big as well. Hopefully this will be a confidence builder for him.”
  • On the team’s ball movement: “We only had 5 turnovers with 17 assists. Thats been a real staple of our program, having a great assist to turnover ratio.”
  • On Barret Benson not seeing the court: “Again with Barrett it was about match-ups. They weren’t playing real bigs so I matched up to them. On Wednesday they will have big guys and we are going to need Barrett. He’s aware of that and I am not down on him at all. I want all our guys across the team to be ready. From night to night we have a team where a lot of guys can help and I’m confident in all of them.”
  • On Vic Law’s career-high scoring performance: “I thought he played with great confidence. I loved the way he attacked the basket. Got himself to the free throw line 10 times tonight and that was really important. You need guys who are going to attack and create contact. We cant just be a jump-shooting team.”
  • On the team’s defense: “We got exposed today with our ability to contain the dribble. It was tough because they shoot it so well and have guys all over the place that make it tough for us to shoot gaps. I would like to see us work harder on consistently keeping people out of our paint. But I did think that when we needed to we got the stops late.”
  • On playing Butler on Wednesday: “It’s a challenge. Our guys are really excited for the game. We’re gonna be ready.”
  • On Aaron Falzon and Nate Taphorn’s limited minutes: “You coach by feel sometimes. Vic had it going and he wasn’t feeling tired. I believe guys are in shape to play heavy minutes. Tonight was just a feel thing.”

Vic Law:

  • On eclipsing the career-high in points he set on Friday: “I think I missed all those free throws in the first game because I wanted to set a new career-high tonight (laughs).”
  • On playing fast: “We knew we needed to get out and push. We had to push the ball back at them and make them play defense, too.”
  • On coming back after missing all of last year: “I think my team has been so patient with me and helped me with my confidence. Last year, just seeing those really close games...I just put so much pressure on myself.”
  • On his role: “Defensively, offensively, whatever the real task is, I wanna attack it. I don’t consider myself a scorer or a playmaker. I want Coach Collins to say at the end of the day, ‘We’re all winners.’”
  • On defending EWU leading scorer Bogdan Blisnyuk: “It doesn’t matter to me what the task is, I’m going to attack it and try to master it. so when it comes to being asked to guard whoever defensively I’m going to accept the challenge. When coach Collins asked me to switch onto him I just did what I needed to do to adjust and help the team.”

Bryant McIntosh:

  • On attacking the basket: “They way they were playing we had to attack the basket. You had to put the pressure on the officials to make calls and with the matchups we really just had to attack tonight.”
  • On Law: “He’s shooting and attacking at such a high level, and what people don’t realize is he’s also guarding the other team’s best player on defense every night. It’s been amazing to have him back.”
  • On EWU’s pick-and-roll coverage: “I was looking to see if we could get a mismatch with their big. It was important for me to attack the guys that were switched on to me and I think that was important for us tonight.”
  • On adjusting to Bliznyuk in the second half: “We had to shrink the floor a little more and the guys that guarded him in the second half, along with Dererk Pardon rotating over with his length, made it really tough for him.”
  • On the team’s scoring balance: “This year we are more spread out with our scoring and have a lot more variety. We had five guys in double figures tonight and I think that’s indicative of our balance this year.”
  • On being the leader of the team: “[Collins] always tells me that ‘it’s your team to lead’. I’m focused on getting these guys ready to go and this is going to be a great matchup for us and a great challenge.”