Before we discuss individual player grades, this team absolutely deserves an A+ for the desire and determination it displayed for 45 grueling minutes against Michigan. The heartbreaking loss was not for a lack of effort. It was a back-and-forth affair down the stretch, with both teams showing a flair for the dramatic. When it came down to it though, Northwestern simply couldn't overcome the shooting of Duncan Robinson and the midrange prowess of Zak Irvin.
Bryant McIntosh: A-
42 minutes, 19 points, 7-of-13 (3-of-5 from three), 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 steal
McIntosh was an effective facilitator and scorer this afternoon, and for the vast majority of the game the best all-around guard on the floor. He found his shot from the outside, which he hadn't been able to do for much of Big Ten play. Additionally, McIntosh did a fantastic job on the defensive end on Derrick Walton Jr., who finished 0 of 7 on the day. It was a tough way for the sophomore's season to end, but this type of performance on this stage was very encouraging and a sign of major growth after he struggled mightily against Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament last year.
Tre Demps: B+
45 minutes, 21 points, 8-of-21 (5-of-11 from three), 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers
Demps was really feeling it early, hitting three three-pointers to keep Northwestern within reasonable striking distance in the first half. The second half was a bit of a mixed bag. Some really clutch shots and some really poor, forced possessions near the end of the shot clock. Additionally, Demps struggled to stay with Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman on the defensive end. Overall though, Demps was the one guy who really stretched Michigan's defense out to the perimeter. A tough, tough way for him to (possibly) end his career.
Alex Olah: A
37 minutes, 20 points, 8-of-18 (1-of-1 from three), 13 rebounds, 3 assists
At halftime, Alex Olah was 1 of 7. Then something must have changed. The Romanian big man, with his family on hand once again, stole the show down the stretch, hitting a three to draw Northwestern to within one and then making a putback with 0.1 seconds left to send it to overtime. Olah's second half was perhaps the best stretch of basketball he played this year, and his final stat line showed it. The senior, like he has for his entire career, put his heart and soul into the game. Unfortunately, his team just couldn't quite get it done.
Aaron Falzon: D
20 minutes, 0 points, 0-of-4 (0-of-3 from three), 4 assists, 1 block
A really quiet night for Falzon, who missed multiple good looks from the outside, had a rather clumsy drive to the hoop and lost minutes to Nathan Taphorn. He did have a nice block, though.
Sanjay Lumpkin: C
37 minutes, 1 point, 0-of-2 (0-of-1 from three), 7 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 block
Lumpkin had a rough first half but actually provided a solid presence on the glass and another workmanlike effort defensively. His offensive game certainly hinders Northwestern on that end, though.
Nathan Taphorn: B-
19 minutes, 6 points, 1-of-5 (1-of-4 from three), 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 steal
When Nathan Taphorn entered with 5 minutes left in the first half, missed two wide open threes, and had Northwestern score only 2 points over that stretch, I was ready to give him a D and wonder why Chris Collins put him in the ball game. But then he actually managed a solid second half, hitting a big (wide open) three and getting five boards. He has surprising hops, but is very limited laterally, which showed when he was assigned to Duncan Robinson with Northwestern up three and he failed to get around a screen.
Scottie Lindsey: D
10 minutes, 3 points, 1-of-3 (1-of-2 from three), 1 rebound, 1 turnover
Scottie Lindsey, simply put, did not come to play. He hit a deep three early, but other than that looked sluggish and threw away an awful turnover as well. Northwestern really would have benefited from a solid effort from the athletic wing. Rather, he continues to be a major question mark heading forward.
Dererk Pardon: C+
7 minutes, 0 points, 0-of-2, 5 rebounds
Pardon came in and gave Northwestern really good energy in his limited minutes (5 rebounds in 7 minutes is insane), but he also missed an easy putback and threw up a wild shot that missed the rim entirely. He certainly has the motor and rebounding ability to be a productive big man in this league, but he needs to refine his touch offensively.
Gavin Skelly: C
8 minutes, 0 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Nothing much from Skelly, whose eight minutes were barely noticed. Nothing good or bad stood out necessarily, which overall is not a good thing for a guy who had been somewhat productive as of late.
Jordan Ash: A
Jordan Ash registered about three seconds of actual playing time, defending the inbounds pass that caused two timeouts before Duncan Robinson
traveled "got fouled." He played very good defense in those seconds.