Jan. 8, 2014
Skip Myslenski's Game Preview
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern continues its challenging start to the Big Ten season on Thursday as it travels to No. 20/23 Iowa. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. from Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Wildcats' first six games of the conference season are as daunting as any team's slate in the nation. Thursday's contest against the nationally ranked Hawkeyes follows a home game against No. 4/5 Wisconsin and a road matchup at defending national runner-up Michigan. NU returns home next week to take on No. 23 Illinois and No. 5/4 Michigan State before traveling to defending conference champion Indiana.
Northwestern's matchup with Iowa features three of the top five field goal percentage leaders in the Big Ten. Aaron White (.657) and Jarrod Uthoff (.578) of Iowa rank first and fourth, respectively, while NU's Alex Olah (.574) is ranked fifth in the category.
Last Season: Iowa snapped the Wildcats' five-game winning streak in the series by posting three wins over NU last season, including a 73-59 win in the Big Ten tournament.
The Hawkeyes dropped a tight 75-71 decision at No. 4/5 Wisconsin on Sunday. Roy Devyn Marble paced Iowa with 27 points.
Marble paces the team with an average of 16.1 points per game while Aaron White contributes 13.1 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds per contest. Iowa ranks first in the Big Ten with an average of 86.1 points per game.
Fran McCaffery has a 66-53 record in four seasons as the head coach at Iowa and a 317-231 mark in 18 seasons overall as a head coach. He will not coach Thursday's game as he serves a one-game suspension after being ejected during the contest against Wisconsin.
I JUST CAME TO SAY OLAH
Sophomore center Alex Olah posted an impressive performance in Northwestern's Big Ten opener against No. 4/5 Wisconsin Jan. 2. Olah connected on 10 of 14 field goal attempts, including 10 of 12 inside the 3-point line, in scoring a career-best 23 points. After shooting 41.5 percent from the field as a freshman, he currently ranks fifth in the Big Ten at 57.4 percent this season. Olah averaged 17.5 points per game while shooting 73.7 percent from the field (14-19) in games against Wisconsin and Michigan last week.
Drew Crawford is the Big Ten's active leading scorer with 1,642 career points. The total ranks fifth in school history and is 64 points behind Michael Thompson (2008-11) for fourth place. Crawford missed most of last season due to injury and returned to the Northwestern lineup with a vengeance in the season-opener against Eastern Illinois, hitting five 3-pointers and scoring a game-high 25 points. The point total was the highest by a Wildcat in a season-opener since John Shurna scored 31 in a victory at Northern Illinois Nov. 12, 2010. Crawford ranks 10th in the Big Ten in scoring (16.4 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (7.8 ppg). Adreian Payne of Michigan State is the only other Big Ten player to rank in the top 10 in the league in both categories.
Active Division I Players with 1,600 Career Points and 600 Career Rebounds
(through games played Jan. 6--courtesy STATS, Inc.)
Name (Team) - Points - Reb.
Doug McDermott (Creighton) - 2,562 - 949
Cleveland Melvin (DePaul) - 1,695 - 677
Javon McCrea (Buffalo) - 1,644 - 798
Drew Crawford (Northwestern) - 1,642 - 610
Augustine Rubit (S. Alabama) - 1,636 - 1,038
DOUBLE YOUR PLEASURE
When Drew Crawford (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Sanjay Lumpkin (13 points, 10 rebounds) both posted double-doubles against Mississippi Valley State Dec. 16, it marked the first time that Northwestern teammates posted double-doubles in the same game since John Shurna (21 points, 13 rebounds) and Luka Mirkovic (11 points, 11 rebounds) accomplished the feat in a 53-44 win over Texas-Pan American Jan. 7, 2010.
After sitting out all of last season, JerShon Cobb has been impressive in his return to the court. Cobb handed out a career-high eight assists in the Wildcats' season-opener vs. Eastern Illinois. He followed up the performance by scoring 19 points at Stanford Nov. 14 and then scored 19 again vs. Illinois State Nov. 17. Cobb's 11 free throws and 14 attempts against the Redbirds were both career highs. The 14 attempts were the most by a Northwestern player since Jitim Young had 15 vs. Michigan State on March 12, 2004. Cobb also posted a career-best 12 rebounds in a win at UIC Nov. 20 and knocked down the game-winning shot with 2.3 seconds remaining in a 63-61 win over IUPUI Nov. 22. His 22 points vs. Missouri Nov. 28 and again the following day vs. UCLA were two shy of his career high achieved vs. Minnesota on March 8, 2012.
As previously noted, Drew Crawford has been both an effective scorer and rebounder this season. In a victory over Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 16, Crawford posted 26 points and 10 rebounds. He followed up the effort with 24 points and 11 boards in a win over Brown on Sunday. Crawford is the first Wildcat to post 20+ points and 10+ rebounds in consecutive games since Jitim Young had 23 points and 12 rebounds vs. Indiana and 25 points and 10 rebounds vs. Wisconsin on Feb. 5 and 8, respectively, of 2003.
BOOST OFF THE BENCH
Tre Demps has provided Northwestern with some scoring punch off the bench so far this season. The redshirt sophomore is averaging 10.1 points per game, including scoring in double figures eight times in the team's 15 games. Demps posted a career-best 23-point performance against DePaul Dec. 27. The point total was the highest in a game by a Northwestern player off the bench since Cedric Neloms scored 25 vs. Ohio State on Feb. 10, 1993.
Big Ten Non-Starter Scoring Leaders
(through games played Jan. 6)
Name (Team) - Avg.
Jarrod Uthoff (Iowa) - 10.5
Tre Demps (Northwestern) - 10.1
Malik Smith (Minnesota) - 9.9
Deverell Biggs (Nebraska) - 9.5
Bryson Scott (Purdue) - 9.1
HITTING THE GLASS
Redshirt freshman Sanjay Lumpkin has been an effective rebounder so far this season. His average of 5.5 rebounds per game ranks second among all Big Ten freshmen, trailing only Indiana's Noah Vonleh (9.5 rpg). Lumpkin notched his first career double-figure rebounding game on Nov. 17 vs. Illinois State. His 11 rebounds were the most by an NU freshman since Drew Crawford had 12 in an NIT game at Rhode Island March 17, 2010. He followed it up with 10 boards at UIC, which coupled with 10 points gave him his first collegiate double-double. Lumpkin is the first NU player with double-figure rebounds in consecutive games since Crawford vs. Purdue (10) and at Rhode Island March 12 and 17 of 2010. A second double-double followed for Lumpkin against Mississippi Valley State Dec. 16, posting 13 points and 10 boards. Lumpkin is the first NU freshman to post 10+ rebounds in three or more games since Evan Eschmeyer had four during the 1995-96 season.
COLLINS INKS STELLAR RECRUITING CLASS
Head coach Chris Collins hit the ground running in terms of recruiting in his first season with the Wildcats. Northwestern inked four individuals during November's early signing period with the class currently ranking No. 25 nationally according to ESPN.com. The class is headlined by forward Vic Law (South Holland, Ill./St. Rita), ranked as the No. 66 national recruit by ESPN.com as well as a nominee for the McDonald's All-American Game. Law is rated as a four-star recruit, as is guard Bryant McIntosh (Greensburg, Ind./Greensburg). The other signees to date include forward Gavin Skelly (Westlake, Ohio/Westlake) and guard Scottie Lindsey (Oak Park, Ill./Fenwick), both rated three-star recruits.
Northwestern returns home Sunday to take on Illinois. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at NUsports.com or by calling 888-GO-PURPLE.
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