Northwestern (17-4, 6-2 Big Ten) picked up a fifth straight win behind monster performances by Dererk Pardon and Vic Law. The Wildcats overcame a sloppy first half to cruise to a season sweep of Nebraska.
Dererk Pardon: A+
19 points (8 of 11 FG), 22 rebounds, 1 turnover, 3 blocks, 1 steal, 1 foul in 34 minutes
Pardon was the unquestioned star of the night. He dominated Nebraska for the second time in his career, and this performance was arguably even more impressive than the 28-point outburst in his first career game. He was unstoppable on the glass all game long, racking up 9 rebounds in his first 9 minutes of action and going from there. With Nebraska’s leading rebounder, Ed Morrow, sidelined, the Cornhuskers just didn’t have anyone who could box Pardon out. Six of his rebounds came on the offensive end, several of which were converted into easy putbacks. Pardon made his presence felt on defense and even hit a 20-foot jumper. He had it all going on Thursday and Northwestern may well have lost without his performance.
Scottie Lindsey: D
5 points (2 of 8 FG, 1 of 3 3FG), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 1 block, 5 fouls in 30 minutes
After the game, Chris Collins said Lindsey’s back was hurting him a little bit. Lindsey was clearly not in his usual flow on the offensive end, resulting in several inefficient looks and a couple turnovers. It was his first game scoring in single digits all year long, ending a 20-game streak. On the defensive end, Lindsey committed some cheap fouls and generally didn’t have the same activity level we’ve grown accustomed to. Northwestern will need its star wing to get healthy for Indiana.
Bryant McIntosh: B-
9 points (3 of 13 FG, 1 of 3 3FG), 3 rebounds, 9 assists, 1 turnover, 1 block, 2 steals in 32 minutes
McIntosh once again had a tough night shooting the ball, but he did enough good things to barely stay above “C” level. Several of his misses were a result of bad offense by the team as a whole, resulting in late shot-clock scenarios where McIntosh was forced to try to create his own shot. Nine assists with a single TO is excellent facilitating and the junior chipped in a couple of steals and a rare block as well.
Vic Law: A
20 points (6 of 13 FG, 2 of 3 3FG), 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 block in 37 minutes
Law balled out on Thursday night. He came alive in the second half, scoring 14 of his team-leading 20 points after the break. Law was especially big down the stretch, scoring 9 points in a 16-1 Northwestern run in 3:37 that turned a 4-point lead into a blowout, including two thunderous dunks. He was the only Wildcat to hit multiple three-pointers and added his usual help on defense and the glass. McIntosh got the headlines before the season and Lindsey has gotten many of them throughout this campaign, but it’s becoming pretty clear that Law deserves some mention as Northwestern’s best player.
Sanjay Lumpkin: A-
8 points (3 of 4 FG, 1 of 1 3FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, in 25 minutes
Lumpkin quietly put together another productive evening. He didn’t do anything spectacular but was his usual solid self on defense (he took at least one charge) and finished with a 118 offensive rating, which was behind only Pardon and Law. The two turnovers, one of which was a travel, were uncharacteristic, but it didn’t matter much. Lumpkin’s late three-pointer was the icing on the cake of a nice win.
Isiah Brown: B
10 points (4 of 10 FG, 1 of 4 3FG), 1 assist, 1 turnover, 4 fouls in 17 minutes
When the offense was struggling in the first half, Brown’s shot-making was crucial for keeping Northwestern in front. He had 9 of his 10 points in the first 20 minutes, including a personal 5-0 run in which he beat a defender one-on-one on consecutive possessions. Brown also showed off his ability to finish at the rim a couple times in the half. As usual, he wasn’t very efficient and committed some dumb fouls, but Brown gets a B for being a much-need spark off the bench.
Gavin Skelly: C
2 points (0 of 2 FG, 0 of 1 3FG), 1 assist, 1 turnover, 1 foul in 17 minutes
Skelly was virtually invisible during his 17 minutes of action. He can be an important part of Northwestern’s success when needed, but Thursday wasn’t his night.
Barret Benson: INC
0 points (0 of 2 FG), 2 rebounds, 1 foul in 4 minutes
Nate Taphorn, Jordan Ash: INC
1 foul in 4 minutes; 1 turnover in 1 minute