Northwestern won its first close game of the 2016 season, upending Wake Forest at Welsh-Ryan Arena as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. With the win, the Wildcats move to 5-2 on the young season. Here’s how each player did.
Bryant McIntosh: A
23 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 3 fouls on 10-of-16 FG, 2-of-3 3FG in 34 minutes
Bryant McIntosh, quite simply, put his cold-shooting, poor-rebounding team on his back down the stretch of this one. His 10-of-16 shooting performance is remarkable considering he was 2-of-8 in the first half. That’s right, he hit all eight of his second-half shots. McIntosh was aggressive getting to the basket and finally started converting. There’s no way Northwestern wins without him breaking out of his early-season slump in a major way. He took over.
Scottie Lindsey: B
12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 0 turnovers, 3 fouls on 5-of-14 FG, 2-of-8 3FG in 31 minutes
Lindsey was cold from outside but found other ways to score, including a couple nifty moves in the post. The junior continues to be more assertive and more consistent; he was able to provide a scoring punch even when he wasn’t feeling it from deep. He was a key secondary scorer, and he made a fantastic pass to McIntosh for the game-icing three.
Sanjay Lumpkin: A-
10 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover, 1 foul on 4-of-7 FG, 0-of-2 3 FG in 33 minutes
Lumpkin has been Northwestern’s most consistent player this season, and that may not come as much of a surprise considering his relatively limited involvement despite major minutes. What has been surprising is his offensive output: His 6.3 points per game so far this year are two more than his previous career high. Lumpkin had a fine game on both ends, playing solid defense on Wake Forest star big man John Collins and scoring in double figures. He had two run out layups to seal the deal.
Vic Law: C+
7 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 0 turnovers, 3 fouls on 3-of-11 FG, 1-of-6 3FG in 33 minutes
It was a rough night for the redshirt sophomore shooting the ball, and that’s what drags his grade down most (in addition to some ticky-tack fouls). But Law found other ways to contribute, including a big steal on an entry pass down the stretch of the game. That Northwestern was able to survive with this type of performance from Law (and, to a lesser extent, Lindsey) was encouraging.
Dererk Pardon: C-
2 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 4 fouls on on 1-of-2 shooting in 16 minutes
Pardon got into foul trouble and was forced to watch much of this game from the bench. When he was in, though, he was outworked and pretty much dominated by Collins, who got to way too many rebounds (eight offensive boards for the Demon Deacons’ big man). Pardon was outworked and was forced into fouling because of that. He also left with a finger injury late. It was a rough outing for the sophomore.
Gavin Skelly: A-
11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 3 turnovers, 3 fouls on 4-of-8 shooting, 1-of-4 3FG in 29 minutes
Skelly did it all for Northwestern, leading the team in assists, tying for the team lead in rebounds and scoring in double digits. And he had to be that good with Pardon in foul trouble and Barret Benson not yet ready to be a legitimate contributor. He’s showing an ever-evolving skill set that includes some nifty passing, a three-point shot and the ability to put the ball on the floor.
Jordan Ash: B
0 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists, 1 block, 1 steal on 0-of-2 FG, 0-of-1 3FG in 11 minutes
After not seeing much time and even accruing some DNPs this season, Ash played an important role versus Wake Forest and he did everything asked of him. He played superb on-ball defense and was active with his hands, getting a steal in the post. It’s clear his defense is way, way ahead of his offense, as evidenced by a wild missed transition layup, but when McIntosh went out for a few minutes with a bloody lip, the game didn’t fall apart with Ash as the point guard.
Isiah Brown: D
0 points, 0 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover on 0-of-4 FG, 0-of-1 3FG in 7 minutes
We knew there would be nights like this. The uber-aggressive freshman played just seven minutes but still managed to get up four shots. He made zero. More significantly, when McIntosh needed rest in the second half, Chris Collins looked to Jordan Ash for the steady hand rather than Brown. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back.
Nathan Taphorn, Barret Benson: INC
Taphorn: 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 turnover on 0-of-1 shooting, 0-of-1 3FG in 5 minutes
Benson: 0 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists, 1 turnover on 0-of-1 shooting in 1 minute
This game was not made for the defensively-challenged Taphorn, who had to compete with the Demon Deacons’ very legitimate size inside and failed to do so. Benson played one minute. Neither did enough to pass much judgment.