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Northwestern vs. DePaul press conference notes

Coaches Dave Leitao and Chris Collins, Scottie Lindsey and Sanjay Lumpkin spoke to the media following the Wildcats 80-64 win

Following Northwestern’s 80-64 win over DePaul, Blue Demons head coach Dave Leitao, Wildcats head coach Chris Collins, Scottie Lindsey and Sanjay Lumpkin addressed the media.

Dave Leitao:

  • On his team’s nightmare start: “I’d have to go back a long way to think of a first half as bad as that.”
  • On his admiration for what Coach Collins has built at NU: “I had my concerns coming in because I know the way that Chris has built and improved this program over four years. He’s recruited and has brought in guys that have a lot of really good really skilled packages.”
  • On the Wildcats’ talent: “They have a lot of skilled attackers and a front line that works really really hard, and I don’t think we were ready to handle them.”
  • On the Wildcats hot start to the game and the season: “Credit to those guys, I think they have a high level of confidence. There are only a couple of plays away from being undefeated and I think they play like it.”
  • On Northwestern’s shooting: “We caught them on one of their best offensive days, we gave them a ton of open shots and it seemed like they made all of them.”
  • On the Wildcats’ leading lights: “A guy like McIntosh is really good, and Vic Law is really really good. But they’re not just good; they seem like they fit well here and have bought into what’s trying to be accomplished.”

Chris Collins:

  • Opening statement: “Very pleased with the win tonight, and proud of how the guys approached the start of the game. We had a great first half on both ends. And they have two pretty darn good players in (Billy) Garrett and (Eli) Cain, and I thought Scottie and Vic did a tremendous job on those two guys.”
  • On second half struggles: “We did not play very well, I’m not pleased with how we finished the game but give DePaul credit for their grit and how they fought.”
  • On Lindsey: “He’s become a mature, really good player. Physically he’s gotten stronger, his defense has improved, and he’s really become a two way player. i think he took the loos of Tre as a personal challenge for him to step up. I am really proud of him and what he did this off-season.”
  • On Isiah Brown’s up and down start to the season: “He’s a freshman. It’s the ebbs and flows of what freshmen go through. We’re not so reliant every night on our freshman. It wasn’t one of his best nights, but his pop off the bench is going to be really important for us going forward this season. I thought it was important for him and Jordan to get extended minutes and fight through some ups and downs.”
  • On the outcome being decided early: “It’s always good when you don’t have to play to the buzzer. To get B-Mac only 24 minutes was great, and all nine healthy guys would have played double-figure minutes if Tap hadn’t fouled out.”
  • On the team’s start: “To get through our stretch of big name opponents and really be two possessions from going through that stretch undefeated I am really proud of how these guys are playing.”
  • On factors that led to the first half scoring outburst: “It was our ability to get stops that led to transition situations in the first half, and It’s great to have two wings like Scottie and Vic who can get up and down, fill lanes, and score.”
  • On the progress of the program as a whole: “It’s our fourth year here now, and I like how there is a culture in place where the players and not just me are preaching the message to the new guys. I think we are really turning the corner but the end indicator will always be the wins and losses.”
  • On his special bond with his team: “I love coaching this team. Its a great group of guys. I don’t know what that’s going to mean at the end of the day but it’s a joy to work with them every day.”
  • On the team’s offensive production despite McIntosh’s lack of scoring: “I love to see how balanced our team can be on offense. There are going to be nights like Wake where the offense can work with Bryant as the focal point, and it pleases me to see that there can be nights like tonight where Scottie, Vic, Gavin, and even Sanjay can carry the load.”
  • On Barret Benson’s first college start: “This was new territory for him. We tried to go to him right away to ease his nerves. He hit that jump hook early and got his anxiety out of the way, and overall I thought he did a great job. He does have a lot of things that he can improve upon but he is getting there and I love his effort.”
  • On the culture of leadership amongst the players: “The best team’s are the ones that are led by the players and I am starting to see a lot of that with these guys.”

Scottie Lindsey:

  • On his development from last year to this year: “In the spring meetings coaches told me I needed to step up from how I played last year. Tre was a really key player for us and anything I can do to help replace what he did I wanted to do that.”
  • On offensive balance: “It’s very hard to guard us. It’s not just me Vic and B-Mac. Isiah can score, Sanjay can score, and Gavin can score, so it’s great to know that we have guys who are going to put the ball in the basket for us every night.”
  • On open looks from three: “They weren’t really closing out and were going under screens. So it was easy for us to catch fire and start knocking down shots.”
  • On Vic Law’s growth: “Vic was in the same position as me as a freshman, we were kind of thrown into the fire. But he’s gotten so much better and gotten a lot stronger physically. Both of us have grown up as players since we’ve been here.”

Sanjay Lumpkin

  • “Everything was clicking in the first half. We were getting stops and that was leading to open shots.”
  • “It was great to see Barret step in and contribute. We’re gonna need to hold things down while Dererk’s gone and it was amazing to give Barret that confidence.”
  • On his streak of him hitting a three correlating to NU wins: “(Laughs) Yeah we actually all know about that in the locker room. If I hit a three we know the game is over.”
  • “I am playing freely and playing confident. I know I can take the shots when they’re there and I can get easy buckets in transition. I always try to stay in character and do what I can.”
  • Lumpkin has 11 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double since his sophomore season. “Rebounding was on the mind of everyone with Dererk being out. He’s our leading rebounder and so we really needed to be able to lock down the boards to have success. It was a real point of emphasis of mine to help out in that aspect tonight.”