Another day, another dominant nonconference victory for the Wildcats as they overpowered Chicago State in a 111-66 victory. Northwestern kept the Cougars at arms length for the first half before pulling away in the second. Here’s your stock up and down from yesterday’s win.
The Houston native continues to prove why he is one of the Big Ten’s best scorers, putting up 16 points on just five shots and going 3-for-3 from deep. He was smooth in transition, and a make from Kopp when he’s open on the wing is about the surest thing in this pandemic-stricken world. He’s averaging 18 points in his first two games and will need to continue to stay hot to give the ‘Cats a chance against tougher competition.
The sophomore forward had an outstanding game, adding 19 points. He was 3-for-4 from 3-point range, joining Miller Kopp in a duo of forwards who can shoot efficiently. Beran was solid from the charity stripe, knocking down all four attempts. He’ll look to continue to establish himself as a key cog in the offense as the season progresses.
Northwestern’s athleticism shined through in this facet of the game, as the Wildcats out-rebounded Chicago State 54-23. Anthony Gaines led the way with a whopping 12 boards in the matchup. Crashing the glass 13 times on the offensive end led to 22 second-chance points for the ‘Cats, and rebounding on the defensive end limited the Cougar’s scoring opportunities and allowed the ‘Cats to stretch the floor in transition. Once again, this was to be expected against a team like Chicago State, but still encouraging to see that the fundamentals are there.
Honorable Mentions: Chicago State traveling violations, Ben Brust, second-half Ty Berry, superstitious point totals
Chase Audige’s efficiency
The William and Mary transfer had another impactful game as he lead the team in scoring with 20 points and continued to earn points in Chris Collins’ book for his effort and hustle. However, his shooting was a slight cause for concern. He went 5-for-17 from the field and 1-for-7 from three and struggled to finish around the basket on numerous occasions. Audige might be able to get by on grit and athleticism against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Chicago State, but a shooting performance like the one he had yesterday isn’t going to fly against Big Ten competition.
Finishing at the basket
Eventually the ‘Cats settled into an offensive rhythm, hence the final score. But a key part of establishing an offensive rhythm is finishing around the basket, and there were plenty of instances where the ‘Cats missed three-foot floaters and mildly-contested layups. Audige needs to be stronger through contact and turn those shooting fouls into and-ones, and Boo Buie needs to continue perfecting his finish at the rim on fast-breaks. Pete Nance and the other Northwestern bigs will have much stiffer competition in the post than they’ve seen thus far and must be prepared for that.
Honorable mentions: Coach’s polos, nonconference scheduling, empty Welsh-Ryan Arena