Behind a flurry of three-pointers and thoroughly dominant play overall, the Northwestern Wildcats (6-2) jumped out to a 32-8 lead and never let up, cruising to a 80-64 win over DePaul (4-2).
Chris Collins went with Barret Benson as his starting center, and the freshman delivered the Wildcats’ first points on a turnaround hook shot over his right shoulder to kick off the scorer. He added an elbow jumper and Sanjay Lumpkin knocked down two threes, helping Northwestern take a 12-6 lead at the under-16 media timeout.
The Blue Demons showed a three-quarter’s court press out of the under-16 break, but the Wildcats quickly went on an 8-0 run that included two Scottie Lindsey threes. Just 1:14 after the under-16 timeout, Dave Leitao was forced to use one of his own with his team down 20-8.
It wouldn’t help at all, though. Sanjay Lumpkin converted an and-1, Nathan Taphorn and Lindsey hit back-to-back threes, and Gavin Skelly got his own hoop plus the harm before DePaul finally ended the 17-0 run with a Joe Hanel layup. Leitao called his second timeout down 34-10 at the 9:19 mark.
The Wildcats continued to dominate, getting contributions from just about about everyone en route to a 45-14 lead at the under-4 timeout.
The Wildcats got a scare late in the first half when Bryant McIntosh limped off after landing awkwardly on a missed layup. But the junior point guard returned, and the scoring continued. Vic Law dropped a beautiful dime that seemed to split all five DePaul defenders and land in Skelly’s hands. The big man finished through contact for his second and-1 of the half, and Northwestern finished the opening 20 minutes up 54-18. DePaul did finish the first half on a 2-0 run, though.
The Wildcats came out a little bit lazy and sloppy in the second half, committing some careless turnovers and some silly fouls. The Blue Demons were able to get into the bonus by the 14:45, and the Wildcats followed shortly thereafter, making for a very long second half. The Wildcats really struggled in the second frame, getting lackadaisical on both ends. Still, the visitors were unable to get the margin under 20 points until very late in the contest as Chris Collins played all of his scholarship players significant minutes.
Northwestern will next take the court on Saturday, December 11 versus the Privateers of New Orleans.
- DePaul was very, very bad tonight, hitting only seven shots in the first half to go along with 9 turnovers. The Blue Demons closed out softly on Northwestern’s shooters, giving the Wildcats way too many good looks at the basket. The hosts hit 7 of their 13 first-half threes.
- They also hit all nine first-half free throws.
- By far the most encouraging sign for the Wildcats was their balanced scoring effort. Seven players scored in the first half, led by Lindsey’s 16, Lumpkin’s 11 and Skelly’s 10. Overall, eight players scored for the hosts.
- When Lindsey is knocking down shots, he adds a crucial element to this offense. The junior guard led the way with 19 points and knocked down five of his eight three-point attempts.
- Lumpkin continued his strong start to the season. One of two seniors on the roster, the Minnesota native finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. He’s a very smart player in addition to his defensive exploits. Twice he leaked out on long rebounds and got behind the Blue Demon defense, both times converting easy layups. Per Kenpom, Lumpkin is the 35th-most efficient offensive player in the nation.
- Isiah Brown followed up a poor outing versus Wake Forest with another off day. The freshman guard went 0 for 7 from the field, had trouble against the press and fouled out in just 16 minutes. In fact, the point guard position as a whole struggled. Brown, McIntosh and Jordan Ash combined for just 8 points on 1-for-13 shooting with five turnovers. McIntosh had four of those giveaways, but he also had five assists.