Bryant McIntosh: A-
22 points (8-18 FG, 3-5 3PT, 3-4 FT), 2 assists, 1 turnover, 5 rebounds, 1 steal, 37 minutes
B-Mac made eight shots in his home state on Saturday night, but that won’t be the lasting memory of his performance. Instead, it’ll be the two shots he missed in the final ten seconds of Northwestern’s excruciatingly painful loss.
Unfortunately, and not for the first time this season, a superb offensive performance from the star point guard just wasn’t enough. The jumper was working, he found his way into the lane with relative ease throughout and even had a timely steal down the stretch. McIntosh continues to be one of the only Northwestern players making any concerted effort to take opponents off the dribble and get to the rim as opposed to settling for contested jumpers, and is the motor behind everything the Wildcats do offensively. He shares little-to-no culpability in this loss or the team’s catastrophic late season collapse. This wouldn’t be an NIT team without him.
Northwestern’s dream season is falling apart, and McIntosh has got to be starting to feel a little helpless.
Scottie Lindsey: C
13 points (6-15, 1-6 3PT), 3 rebounds, 1 turnover, 2 steals, 34 minutes
On the bright side, it was easily Lindsey’s best game since returning from illness. He played 34 minutes last night as opposed to 24 and 26 against Maryland and Illinois respectively, and shot a reasonable 6-15 from the floor (although you’d like to see better than 1-6 from three) compared to 3-19 in his previous two appearances combined. His 9 points (and two steals) in the first 13 minutes of the game fueled a good offensive start for Northwestern.
The junior guard disappeared in the second half, though. After starting the game 4-5 from the field, Lindsey finished by missing 8 of his last 10 shots. All of this isn’t to mention the bone-headed foul he committed on a Thomas Bryant dunk attempt with just two seconds left in the game. At the time, Northwestern led 62-60 and, as Bryant went up to slam the ball home, Lindsey took a swipe at the Indiana center’s head. Bryant punched it through easily, hit the free throw (in about the most suspenseful manner you can imagine) and Northwestern is one loss closer to a heartbreaking end to an overall encouraging season.
It’s hard to pin all the blame for any loss on one play... In the heat of the game, Lindsey made a mistake. Time will tell just how costly this mistake will prove to be.
Vic Law: D+
4 points (1-7 FG, 0-3 3PT, 2-2 FT), 5 rebounds, 2 turnovers, 1 assist, 2 steals, 38 minutes
Law simply hasn’t been good enough down the stretch of this season, especially with Lindsey missing time and displaying rust upon his return.
He’s settling for outside jumpers and missing them. In the month of February, he’s shooting 33.3 percent from the floor (29 percent from three) and is averaging 3 free throw attempts per game. In the latter half of conference play, his value has been almost exclusively on the defensive side of the ball, where his quick hands and length still help Northwestern tremendously, but he needs to be a more consistent option on the other side of the ball if the offense hopes to achieve any semblance of consistency.
In the interest of silver linings, he was the only Wildcat to convert all of his free throw attempts (a facet of the game that is becoming less and less of a team strength as the season drags on).
Dererk Pardon: B+
12 points (4-10 FG, 4-7 FT), 10 rebounds (7 off, 3 def), 1 turnover, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 35 minutes
Pardon gave Northwestern everything you could ask of him in this one. The sophomore center registered a double-double with seven offensive rebounds (10 total) and two blocks, providing energy inside and second-chance opportunities for a Northwestern team that is taking too many perimeter jumpers and doesn’t rebound exceptionally well as a collective unit. Unfortunately, as is the case with this team in general, Pardon’s impact is felt primarily in spurts.
Sanjay Lumpkin: B-
4 points (1-2 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-3 FT), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 30 minutes, fouled out
Lumpkin’s most notable contribution was a beautiful, spinning and-1 layup to pull Northwestern within a point with just under 15 minutes remaining in the game. He fouled out with 2:44 remaining and took only two shots.
Gavin Skelly: B-
5 points (2-4 FG, 0-2 3PT, 1-2 FT), 1 rebound, 1 turnover, 1 assist, 10 minutes
Skelly brought good energy off the pine for Collins in this game, playing ten minutes, and converting both a dunk and a very un-Skelly-like turnaround elbow jumper to put Northwestern up seven with just under 10 minutes left. He provided the only contribution of real substance off the bench.
Isiah Brown, Nathan Taphorn, Barret Benson: INC
COMBINED: 2 points (1-3 FG, 0-1 3PT), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 block, 16 minutes
No real impact from these guys. Brown hit a layup midway through the first half and the three combined for 16 minutes total. Not much else to say. If they can bring anything in these final two games, I’m sure Chris Collins would appreciate it. On its best night, this team goes eight deep.