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Northwestern vs. Purdue player grades

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Sanjay’s sublime senior day and B-Mac’s record-setting display were the highlights of a valiant Wildcats effort.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Northwestern Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Bryant McIntosh: A+

25 points (10-17 FG, 2-4 3PT, 3-4 FT), 6 assists, 2 turnovers, 2 rebounds, 37 minutes

When he’s on and aggressive getting to the rim, this guy is elite. There is no question about it. B-Mac once again played the role of floor general and manufacturer of the Wildcat offense brilliantly, and did so for just about the whole 40 minutes on Sunday. The junior had just about the full arsenal going for him, as he was hitting from deep, knocking in floaters, taking the ball into the teeth of the defense and patiently orchestrating in the pick-and-roll. It was fitting that the assist that vaulted him to the all-time program lead in that category came in a performance like this one.

Sanjay Lumpkin: A

13 points (5-5 FG, 3-4 FT), 7 rebounds (5 offensive), 32 minutes

What a way to go out for a man who has represented Northwestern basketball so brilliantly for what seems like a decade now. Lumpkin was his usual active self on the glass and was perfectly opportunistic, energetic, and alert on the offensive end en route to his second-highest Big Ten point total of the season. Although he had some struggles in one-on-one situations defensively, he was, as always, brilliant in quarter-backing a complicated low post scheme that limited Purdue’s post threats as much as possible.

Dererk Pardon: A-

11 points (5-6 FG, 1-2 FT), 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 34 minutes

First Ethan Happ, and now Caleb Swanigan. There can be no doubt that Dererk Pardon loves going up against and proving himself against the Big Ten’s most formidable big men. Playing a hefty total of 34 minutes, the sophomore matched up one-on-one with both Swanigan and Isaac Haas for the vast majority of that time and more than held his own defensively all afternoon long. However, it was on the offensive end where he might have had his best game of the year. He provided a consistent source of shot creation from the low post—something that he has been far from consistent at doing throughout the year—and really helped relieve the load on McIntosh’s shoulders during key portions of both halves with his vision and soft touch around the rim. He was kept in check on the offensive glass, but was able to assert his influence on the game in every other facet against a potential National Player of the Year.

Scottie Lindsey: C+

8 points (3-11 FG, 2-6 3PT), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 1 steal, 1 block, 26 minutes

Scottie is not “back” yet per se, but he continues to show flashes. He turned in an impactful performance in the first half against the Boilermakers, punctuated by a chase-down-block-followed-by-transition-three sequence that caused Welsh-Ryan to absolutely explode, but again tailed off in the second period. Overall, he still had a large impact on the game, especially defensively, where he was vital in limiting a potent Purdue team to just 4-19 shooting from three on the night.

Vic Law: C-

4 points (2-13 FG, 0-5 3PT), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 35 minutes

The mystery of Vic Law’s offensive game continues to reveal new chapters. After coming alive against Michigan, Law struggled mightily with his outside shot against the Boilermakers. Uncharacteristically, his offensive shortcomings also seemed to affect his overall game for stretches, as he was not as active on the offensive glass and did not turn in as influential of a defensive performance as is typical for a player of his abilities. Despite the lackluster performance, the Sophomore swingman did salvage his grade late by locking down Dakota Mathias down the stretch, after he had been unconscious in the first half under Law’s watch.

Nathan Taphorn: C-

2 points (1-4 FG, 0-3 3PT), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 fouls, 18 minutes

Unfortunately for Tap, it just was not really his night on senior day. After executing “The Pass” on Wednesday in his penultimate game at Welsh-Ryan, the Wildcats’ sharpshooter had the chance to add to that storybook ending when he was freed up for a game-tying three-point attempt in the game’s final 20 seconds, but drew a blank and fired an uncharacteristic airball. All in all, that play was emblematic of Taphorn’s night. He was engaged, active, and determined to make an impact on the game, but just could not find his calling card that is his 3-point shot. He gave Collins some serviceable minutes, helped out defensively and on the glass, and nailed a nice mid-range pull-up, but was simply missing the main weapon from his arsenal and thus struggled to be effective.

Gavin Skelly: F

0 points (0-2 FG, 0-2 3PT), 0 rebounds, 2 fouls, 7 minutes

The ‘F’ may seem harsh, but hey, this was an incredibly hard test for Skelly so there isn’t too much shame in failing it. There simply was not a place for the junior stretch-4 in Collins’ frontline rotation tonight, as none of the matchups across Purdue’s three man frontcourt unit were tailored to his strengths whatsoever. He doesn’t have the size to match up with Haas or Swanigan in the post, and doesn’t quite have the lateral quickness or the perimeter defensive instincts to match up with Edwards. For all intents and purposes, there was nowhere to utilize Skelly in this battle where he would not be vulnerable, and since his shots did not fall early, he was largely written off and consigned to the bench.

Barret Benson: C

2 points (1-1 FG), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 6 minutes

Benson gave the Wildcats about exactly what you would have expected him to give against Purdue’s menacing front line. He came in for limited minutes in relief of Pardon, used his size to keep Swanigan and Haas at bay down low and on the glass, used his fouls when he needed to, and dropped in an open layup. In equal measure he looked fairly lost in the offense, clogged the floor somewhat, and struggled to hang in with the quickness and athleticism around him on both sides.

Jordan Ash: C-

0 points (0-0 FG), 1 assist, 1 turnover, 2 rebounds, 1 foul, 3 minutes

It was an encouraging sign for Ash that Collins turned to him as the first guard off the bench for the second consecutive game, and the seldom-used sophomore guard did provide somewhat of a spark, but he ultimately showed that he is simply not ready to be trusted with the ball in his hands for extended periods on the offensive end. A careless turnover and a sloppy foul on a singular trip up and down the court spelled a quick end to Ash’s night.

Isiah Brown: D+

0 points (0-1 FG), 1 rebound, 1 foul, 2 minutes

The freshman sparkplug has fallen out of Collins’ rotation in the last couple of games, and that remained the case on Sunday afternoon. He likely would not have played had Ash not made his mistakes, and could have used some help from the officials in making his short run count. On consecutive possessions, Brown saw two calls not go his way, as he was hammered at the rim by Edwards and then whistled for a questionable reach on the other end. He was then yanked for McIntosh and did not see the court again.