Northwestern (2-2) got back to winning ways with a strong 70-59 victory over the Norfolk State Spartans (3-3). Ryan Young’s career performance led the Wildcats with a second half double-double in a much-needed early season win.
Here’s the stock report from Friday’s game as the Wildcats climbed back to .500:
Free Throw Shooting
The Wildcats made use of Norfolk State’s foul trouble, shooting 27-for-30 from the charity stripe throughout the contest. Ryan Young led the ‘Cats from the free throw line, making 11 of his 12 attempts. While the ‘Cats struggled from the field early, a 9-0 run composed solely of free throws helped keep things close for NU in the first half. Given this team’s offensive struggles, the ‘Cats will need to take advantage of every free point they can get, so it’s nice to see them converting their free throws at a high rate to start the season.
The Wildcats changed up from their 1-3-1 zone to a man defense midway through the first half, which led the ‘Cats to hold Norfolk State scoreless for a 6:30 stretch. After falling down by ten points early due to zone struggles, Collins made the move to man which proved to be a catalyst in Northwestern’s early comeback. The 59 total points surrendered were the lowest mark the NU defense has posted this season.
The redshirt freshman had a second half double-double and led the team with a career-high 19 points. He shot 57 percent from the field and an impressive 92 percent from the free throw line. Young also dominated the boards, grabbing 12 rebounds (seven offensive). The New Jersey native had big shoes to fill (both literally and figuratively) after Dererk Pardon’s graduation last year, but has looked impressive and willing to meet the challenge so far this season.
Honorable mentions: beating mid-majors, free Chick-Fil-A, Pete Nance’s 3-point percentage (75%), Norfolk State offensive fouls, game-changing runs, Eric Zalewski suiting up
Once again, the Wildcats started a game slowly, with the Spartans jumping out to an 18-8 lead before finally locking up on defense. The Wildcats started out shooting 2-for-10 from the field, making just one out of their first six from three-point land. However, the Wildcats quickly picked up the slack in an overall dominant win.
Turner’s slow start to the season continued tonight. He went 0-for-6 from the field and missed all four of his attempts from beyond the arc. The former starter’s contribution off the bench has been noticeably absent from the scoresheet, averaging 2.5 points per game so far this season. Turner has yet to hit from beyond the arc, now falling to 0-for-9 on the season. On the year, Turner is shooting just 25 percent from the field.
The Wildcats disappointed again from beyond the arc, making just 5-of-22 attempts. Northwestern was 0-for-7 in the second half on three point shots as the team created open looks but simply struggled to convert. Other than Pete Nance shooting 75 percent from three, the Wildcats were 2-for-18, a number that will need to improve significantly before heading into Big Ten play.
Honorable Mentions: losing to mid-majors, free textbooks, filling up Welsh-Ryan, covering the spread, the under (128.5)