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Northwestern vs. DePaul Player Grades

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A dominant first half and a sloppy second half are both reflected in the Wildcats’ marks

NCAA Basketball: DePaul at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Scottie Lindsey: A

19 points (7-16 FG, 5-8 3PT), 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 turnovers, 34 minutes

The junior guard continued his torrid start to the season offensively by pacing the Wildcats in scoring en route to winning the game’s most valuable player award. He was the key figure in the Wildcats’ 54-point first-half blitz, scoring 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting from downtown, forcing a pair of turnovers, and generally being an absolute menace in transition alongside alongside Law and Lumpkin. His sub-.500 mark from the field is simply a reflection of his efforts to carry a horribly sputtering second-half offense when the outcome of the game was already a foregone conclusion, and should not take away from what was an efficient and dominant performance. Of the players returning form last year’s squad, Lindsey has so far made the most important and impressive jump in this new season.

Sanjay Lumpkin: A

11 points (4-7 FG, 2-2 3PT), 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 blocks, 4 fouls, 29 minutes

Let this sink in folks: As of the morning of Sunday, December 4th, Sanjay Lumpkin is the 23rd-best offensive player in the country (per KenPom). Just a year ago, the 5th-year senior was a player who used his motor, savvy and toughness to stay on the floor despite forcing his team to practically play 4 versus 5 on offense at times. This year, in addition to his veteran leadership, defensive versatility, and prowess on the glass, he has miraculously morphed into somewhat of an offensive playmaker. The epitome of this transformation was last night’s first ten minutes against the Blue Demons. The captain stroked two open looks from three, was a focal point of the team’s transition attack, and consistently made brilliant extra passes on the perimeter to open up DePaul’s hapless defense. Lumpkin not only opened up the offense by forcing the Blue Demons to close out to him as a shooter, but also showed a level of comfort in making the next play when his shot was taken away. It could be easily argued that his transformation has been the leading factor in keying the Wildcats efficient attack so far this season.

Vic Law: A-

16 points (6-12 FG, 2-4 3PT), 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 33 minutes

Law took a back seat to his fellow wing Lindsey in the first-half onslaught in terms of scoring, but he played a nearly flawless game nonetheless. His stuffing of the stat sheet was truly reflective of his impact in all facets of play. He protected the rim, was a presence on the glass, locked down each of DePaul’s two best scorers for extended stretches, ran the floor tirelessly and lethally, and was also able to do his fair share of scoring inside and out when opportunities presented themselves. Another noteworthy aspect of his performance was his impact in his limited second half minutes of steadying a violently rocking ship with a perfect combination of patience and assertiveness on the offensive end that showcased his ability as a leader.

Gavin Skelly: B+

15 points (5-7 FG, 5-6 FT), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 foul, 26 minutes

Coming off the bench behind Barret Benson, the junior once again showcased his much improved offensive skill-set. It was not a coincidence that the Wildcats’ game-defining first-half run kicked into its highest gear when he entered the game. His energy to run the floor, fully-developed understanding of the pick and roll, and ability to catch and finish through contact around the basket led to his 10 points during the meat of Northwestern’s 47-10 run to close out the half. Outside of his efficient scoring, however, Skelly did not show much in terms of rim protection, rebounding, and ability to bang down low that would suggest he would be truly capable of taking over the role of starting center in the future.

Barret Benson: C

5 points (2-3 FG, 1-4 FT), 3 rebounds, 1 block, 2 turnovers, 4 fouls, 20 minutes

The lumbering 6-foot-11 freshman showed flashes in his first game outside of a severely limited role, but he also provided many reasons to suggest that he will likely revert to that limited role once Dererk Pardon returns. Starting in place of Pardon, Benson hit his first two shots of the game within the Wildcats’ first three trips up and down the floor—a deft jump hook and a smooth midrange jumper—but then proceeded to spend the night as a whole looking overwhelmed by the pace and quickness of the game. He was involved in four or five Wildcat turnovers, and failed to assert any kind of presence on the glass or in the paint despite being the biggest player on the floor.

Bryant McIntosh: C-

4 points (1-4 FG, 0-2 3PT), 5 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 4 fouls, 24 minutes

This game was more or less one to write off for B-Mac. He deferred to the hot hands on the wing for the bulk of a dominant first half, and was part of a sloppy and lackadaisical start to the second half before sitting for much of the game’s closing stretches. Maybe it could be considered troubling that he was such a non-factor against a defense that should not have caused him any problems, but due to the unusual circumstances of the game his performance should not be cause for alarm moving forward.

Jordan Ash: C-

0 points (0-2 FG, 0-2 3PT), 1 assist, 1 rebound, 13 minutes

The sophomore point guard played 13 minutes, mostly in the second half, and was about as much of a peripheral figure as he possibly could have been. He missed two open jumpers, was largely ignored offensively, and played passable perimeter defense aside from one or two unnecessary fouls.

Nathan Taphorn: D

6 points (1-2 FG, 1-2 3PT, 3-4 FT), 0 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, fouled out, 7 minutes

When Tap entered the game during the brunt of the first half run and immediately buried a wing three-pointer off a pick-and-pop, it looked like it may be his day. However, two instances of poorly timed help defense down low led to two quick fouls, and he was back on the bench for the rest of the half. In a second half performance that was about as ugly as it could have been, the senior forward’s performance was particularly repugnant, as he played four minutes without a field goal, turned the ball over once, and astonishingly fouled out after just seven total minutes of action.

Isiah Brown: D-

4 points (0-7 FG, 4-5 FT), 1 assist, 1 turnover, fouled out, 16 minutes

Wildcat fans have seen the best and the worst of Isiah Brown in this young season, but last night was a new low. After first half foul trouble, a turnover and a couple of missed shots, Chris Collins gave the freshman guard the entire second half to make amends with the game already in the bag. Brown did not take the opportunity though, missing all seven of his field goal attempts, grinding the offense to a halt with his over-dribbling, and fouling out on three needless frustration fouls. It was a night that the promising young scorer will need to learn from as conference play approaches.