clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Northwestern-Iowa recap: Player grades from a fifth consecutive loss

Northwestern was thumped, again, by a ranked opponent.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Following back-to-back blowout losses, Northwestern (15-8, 3-7 Big Ten) was again outclassed, this time by an excellent Iowa (17-4, 8-1) team, and the Wildcats dropped their fifth straight contest in an 85-71 loss in Iowa City.

It was clear from tip that Iowa, like Indiana and Michigan State, would be able to find holes in Northwestern's matchup zone and get open threes in abundance. While the Hawkeyes' shots weren't falling early, they found their rhythm midway through the first half and blew the game open. The final score doesn't convey the lopsided nature of the game; make no mistake, this was Northwestern's third consecutive game where the outcome was certain by halftime.

A concerning trend continued tonight: Northwestern's defense was completely inept. Iowa exploited the holes in the zone with ease, which prompted Northwestern coach Chris Collins to switch to a more traditional man-to-man defense. This helped Northwestern players stick with Iowa's shooters, but the disparity in talent become clearer as the afternoon wore on. At one point in the second half, Iowa had a 29-point lead and rested their horses for the remainder of the game.

Simply put, Northwestern needed to play an absolutely perfect game to have a chance. However, the Wildcats didn't.

There were, however, a few positives. Tre Demps exploded for a career-high 30 points, and while most of those came after the game had already been decided, a performance like should do wonders for his battered confidence. And Scottie Lindsey, after not seeing any playing time against Michigan State, played 26 minutes and provided a nice scoring boost.

Here's an assessment of each individual's performance. Per usual, we'll list in order of minutes played:

Bryant McIntosh: C+

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
4 6 2 2-6 36

McIntosh simply couldn't get anything going. He shot just twice in the first 14 minutes of the game and only put up six shots in total, his lowest output of the season. But McIntosh took care of the ball — only 1 of Northwestern's 16 turnovers belonged to McIntosh, which is impressive when you consider how often the ball is in his hands — and dished out 6 assists. McIntosh asked Collins for a rest multiple times, which suggests that his heavy minutes and workload might be beginning to wear on him.

Tre Demps: A

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
30 4 3 11-22 36

Demps bounced back from a dreadful performance in the truest sense of the phrase. Following a 2-of-14 shooting night against Michigan State, Demps carried the offensive load for Northwestern and put up a career-high 30 points. Yes, he wasn't hyper-efficient and yes, he still makes head-scratching plays, but Demps was Northwestern's best player on Sunday. It's a shame such a performance came in a game where Northwestern had virtually no chance, but if Demps can parlay this performance into some momentum, this is a much better offensive team.

Scottie Lindsey: A-

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
15 0 0 5-9 26

Lindsey didn't show any signs of rust after seeing not seeing the floor against Michigan State. He was aggressive from the first minute he stepped on the court and played with fiery passion; his emotions got the better of him when he cussed at a referee and received a technical foul. What was particularly encouraging was the confidence with which Lindsey shot the three-pointer. He made 3-of-4 from behind the arc and seemed comfortable in catch-and-shoot situations. With Aaron Falzon and Nathan Taphorn struggling, Lindsey's shooting is vital.

Dererk Pardon: B

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
6 6 0 3-4 22

Pardon continues to be a pleasant surprise and played by far the most minutes of any of Northwestern's bigs. While that's a product of injuries to Alex Olah and Joey van Zegeren, it's still a testament to Collins' trust in Pardon and his ability to hold his own in the post in the Big Ten. Pardon continues to be efficient offensively and rebounds at an impressive rate.

Aaron Falzon: D-

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
0 1 6 0-8 19

The best word to describe Falzon's performance is clumsy. He missed all five of his three-point attempts and tried some awkward runner-type shots that failed as well. Falzon is out there to make threes and he was ice cold against Iowa. At this point, he isn't able to contribute in many other areas. He only didn't receive an F because of his 6 rebounds.

Sanjay Lumpkin: C-

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
0 1 5 0-1 16

It's no secret that Lumpkin isn't expected to produce much — if any — offense. But in a high-scoring game like this one, his inability to warrant his defender's attention hurt Northwestern's spacing. Teams know that Lumpkin isn't looking to shoot at all and thus can help off him repeatedly to prevent players like McIntosh and Demps from getting to their spots. However his effort level was, as always, excellent.

Gavin Skelly: B+

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
8 0 5 3-4 12

Skelly played mostly in garbage time, but his energy injected some life into a dormant Northwestern team and sparked a run deep in the second half. Skelly got the bench off its feet with a dunk and also hit the boards nicely.

Nathan Taphorn: D

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
3 0 4 1-3 11

Taphorn's first shot was a swished three-pointer, but the rest of his play was poor. In one particular sequence, Taphorn missed a defensive assignment which resulted in a wide-open Peter Jok three (which he converted), got yelled at by Collins for the error, then proceeded to take a dribble into a trap and turned it over. Taphorn isn't a good defender to say the least, so when he's not shooting the ball well, it's tough to justify his minutes.

Alex Olah: D+

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
3 0 4 0-2 11

Collins mentioned after the Michigan State game that Olah doesn't practice because his foot is still broken. Olah simply isn't healthy and it's hard not to feel for the big guy; he's clearly injured and physically unable to produce the way he's accustomed to. Oh, and he's a senior.

Joey van Zegeren: Inc.

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
0 0 3 0-1 6

Van Zegeren might actually be less healthy than Olah. His strength is his athleticism, and he simply doesn't have any bounce because of his foot injury. Northwestern misses his rim protection dearly.

Jordan Ash: Inc.

Points Assists Rebounds Field Goals Minutes
2 1 0 1-2 5

Ash played only in garbage time.