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    Fourth-Ranked Spartans Present Another Stiff Test for Wildcats

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM JerShon Cobb ranks second on the team in scoring at 11.9 points per game.
    JerShon Cobb ranks second on the team in scoring at 11.9 points per game.

    Jan. 14, 2014

     Northwestern (8-9, 1-3) vs. Michigan State (15-1, 4-0)
     Date  Wednesday, Jan. 15 | 6 p.m.
     Location  Welsh-Ryan Arena  | Evanston, Ill.
     Watch  BTN and BTN2Go (Brian Anderson and Mike Kelley)
     Listen  WGN 720 and (Dave Eanet and David Kaplan); 89.3 FM WNUR
     Live Stats  Gametracker
     Tickets  Limited seats available at
     Social Media  @NUMensBball   |  Facebook
     Game Notes  Northwestern | Michigan State

    Skip Myslenski Preview

    WATCH: Coach Collins Previews Michigan State | Players Preview Michigan State

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern plays its third straight game against a ranked opponent Wednesday as it hosts No. 4/4 Michigan State at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.

    It marks the sixth time in six seasons that the Wildcats have faced a ranked foe in three consecutive games. NU is coming off a 49-43 victory over No. 23 Illinois on Sunday. Drew Crawford led the 'Cats with 13 points and eight rebounds while Tre Demps added 11 points, including three consecutive 3-pointers down the stretch. The Wildcats limited the Fighting Illini to 28.1 percent shooting, including 19.4 percent in the first half. The victory was Northwestern's fifth over Illinois in the last eight meetings between the schools.

    Fans are encouraged to plan accordingly and give themselves plenty of time to get to Welsh-Ryan Arena as a capacity crowd is expected. CTA Purple Line and Metra train stations are located blocks away and are encouraged to be used as is the Pace Bus.

    The contest is the first of two games at Welsh-Ryan Arena Wednesday evening as the Northwestern women's basketball team takes on Illinois approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the men's game.

    Last Season: The teams met just once last season, in the regular-season finale, with Michigan State using a late 10-0 run to post a 71-61 victory March 10 in East Lansing. Northwestern won the most recent game in Evanston, 81-74 Jan. 14, 2012 over the sixth-ranked Spartans.

    • The Spartans improved to a Big Ten-best 4-0 with a second consecutive overtime win last Saturday, defeating visiting Minnesota 87-75. Keith Appling led the way with 24 points, including going 15-for-16 from the free throw line.
    • Sophomore guard Gary Harris leads the team with an average of 17.8 points per game, while Appling contributes 16.4 per contest. Adreian Payne, who averages 16.2 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, missed the Minnesota game due to injury.
    • Tom Izzo is in his 19th season as the head coach at Michigan State where he has a 454-179 record.

    The strength of the Big Ten Conference is certainly evident when looking at the start of Northwestern's league slate. After opening up against No. 4/5 Wisconsin, the Wildcats traveled to defending national runner-up Michigan before heading to No. 20/23 Iowa. Following home games against No. 23 Illinois on Sunday and No. 4/4 Michigan State on Wednesday, the Wildcats make the trek to reigning Big Ten regular-season champion Indiana this Saturday.

    Drew Crawford is the Big Ten's active leading scorer with 1,654 career points. The total ranks fifth in school history and is 35 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 12th in the Big Ten in scoring (15.9 ppg) and sixth in rebounding (7.0 rpg).
    Active Division I Players with 1,600 Career Points and 600 Career Rebounds
    (through games played Jan. 9--courtesy STATS, Inc.)
    Name (Team) - Points - Reb.

    Doug McDermott (Creighton) - 2,616 - 961
    DeAndre Kane (Iowa State) - 1,765 - 615
    Cleveland Melvin (DePaul) - 1,741 - 691
    Javon McCrea (Buffalo) - 1,668 - 817
    Drew Crawford (Northwestern) - 1,667 - 620
    Augustine Rubit (S. Alabama) - 1,667 - 1,058

    Crawford's Northwestern Career Ranks:
    Games Played: 3rd--127
    Games Started: 3rd--126
    Field Goal Attempts: 4th--1,358
    Points: 5th­--1,667
    Field Goals: 5th--601
    3-Point Field Goals: 5th--207
    3-Point Field Goal Attempts: 5th--574
    Blocked Shots: 7th­--87

    Northwestern sophomore center Alex Olah has been extremely accurate from the field over the team's first four Big Ten games. Olah has shot a combined 20 for 32 (62.5 percent), including a 10-for-14 effort from the field vs. Wisconsin en route to a career-best 23-point performance. Overall this season, Olah ranks seventh in the conference, shooting 56.1 percent. As a freshman, Olah shot 41.5 percent from the field.

    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.

    Tre Demps has provided Northwestern with some scoring punch off the bench so far this season. The redshirt sophomore is averaging 9.9 points per game, including scoring in double figures nine times. 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. 13)
    Name (Team) - Avg.

    Jarrod Uthoff (Iowa) - 10.3
    Malik Smith (Minnesota) - 10.1
    Tre Demps (Northwestern) - 9.9
    Deverell Biggs (Nebraska) - 9.9
    Bryson Scott (Purdue) - 8.5

    Redshirt freshman Sanjay Lumpkin has been an effective rebounder so far this season. His average of 5.3 rebounds per game ranks second among all Big Ten freshmen, trailing only Indiana's Noah Vonleh (9.3 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.

    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 The class is headlined by forward Vic Law (South Holland, Ill./St. Rita), ranked as the No. 66 national recruit by 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.

    UP NEXT...
    Northwestern heads to Bloomington this Saturday to take on defending Big Ten regular-season champion Indiana. Tip-off is set for 1:30 p.m. Central time.


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