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Northwestern vs. Houston Baptist player grades

It was a team effort for the Wildcats.

NCAA Basketball: ACC/Big Ten Challenge-Wake Forest vs Northwestern Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the Wildcats closed out their non-conference schedule with a 72-63 victory over Houston Baptist. Despite a horrendous first half, Northwestern was able to win comfortably thanks to strong second-half performances from several players. Here’s how each individual played against the Huskies.

Scottie Lindsey - B+

19 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 steal on 7/22 FG, 2/10 3FG, 3/3 FT in 35 minutes

While he had a rough shooting night, Lindsey was key part of Northwestern’s second-half comeback. His relentlessness offensively paid off, as the Huskies collapsed under the pressure exerted by the Wildcats after the break. It would be nice to see Lindsey drive the ball more in the future, though, and finish more effectively around the rim.

Sanjay Lumpkin - B+

11 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover on 3/4 FG, 1/2 3FG, 4/5 FT in 36 minutes

Lumpkin was a rebound shy of his third consecutive double-double. As he always does, Lumpkin was everywhere defensively, even if the numbers in the box score don’t show it. He also canned a three-pointer, which almost certainly ensures a win for Northwestern.

Vic Law - B+

11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 turnover, 1 steal, 1 block on 4/12 FG, 1/5 3FG, 2/5 FT in 32 minutes

After shooting 1 of 7 from the field in the first half, Law returned from the break and attacked the basket, shooting all five of his free throws after the break (only making two, though). He may have cooled off after his hot start to the season, but Law is still the Wildcats’ most threatening option. As conference play begins, Law will need to increase his efficiency for the team to succeed.

Bryant McIntosh - C+

9 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 turnovers, 1 steal on 3/15 FG, 1/4 3FG, 2/4 FT in 35 minutes

McIntosh went without a made field goal in the first half and turned the ball over three times. His second half was better, but his uneven play throughout the season has to be concerning. For the Wildcats to win, McIntosh must play better.

Barret Benson - B

3 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks on 1/2 FG, 1/2 FT in 19 minutes

In Dererk Pardon’s place, Benson has provided capable minutes and gotten better each game. Against the Huskies, he looked much more comfortable offensively, and his size at the rim deterred Houston Baptist from getting easy shots. He also had an important tip out after a missed free throw that led to a McIntosh three. Thanks to Benson’s improvement, Northwestern has been able to stay afloat amid its starting center’s absence.

Isiah Brown - B+

12 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 2 steals on 3/7 FG, 1/2 3FG, 5/8 FT in 19 minutes

Brown has strung together a few solid games now, which has been huge with McIntosh’s continued struggles. His ability to get to the foul line has been immensely valuable with the Wildcat’s recent stretch of frustrating offensive play. While he’s had an up-and-down season, Brown has emerged as a key contributor off the bench.

Gavin Skelly - B

7 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks on 3/3 FG, 1/1 3FG in 15 minutes

Despite fouling out, Skelly had a solid outing. He brought his usual energy off the bench, coming up with a couple blocks and strong finishes inside. Skelly’s production off the bench has been exceptional for Northwestern this year.

Nate Taphorn - C

0 points, 1 rebound, 1 turnover, 1 block in 9 minutes

Taphorn didn’t do anything extraordinary during his nine minutes, but he also didn’t hurt the team. As long as he’s spacing the floor and not losing his man, Taphorn is a valuable role player off the bench. It’ll be interesting to see how he fares against Big Ten opponents this season.