Jan. 24, 2014
Skip Myslenski's Game Preview | Players' Preview Iowa Game
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's red-hot defense matches up with the Big Ten's top scoring offense Saturday as the Wildcats host Iowa at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m.
Both squads will be participating in the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend. The Big Ten school with the most students wearing suits and sneakers to their respective games will receive a $10,000 donation to their school's Relay for Life initiative.
NU's defense has been remarkable over the last four games, allowing just 51.0 points per game while its foes are shooting a combined 29.5 percent from the field.
Purdue became Northwestern's third opponent over the last four games to shoot under 30 percent as the Wildcats outlasted the Boilermakers for a 63-60 double overtime victory on Tuesday. Drew Crawford and Tre Demps led NU with 19 points apiece.
Crawford will be playing in his 131st career game and making his 130th start Saturday, surpassing John Shurna and Michael Thompson, respectively, for the top spot in Northwestern history in both categories.
First Meeting: The teams are meeting for the second time in 16 days with Iowa posting a 93-67 win in Iowa City Jan. 9. JerShon Cobb scored a team-high 18 points for NU while Aaron White matched the total for Iowa.
The Hawkeyes dropped a 75-67 decision at No. 21 Michigan on Wednesday. Melsahn Basabe and Aaron White led Iowa with 17 points apiece.
Iowa averages a Big Ten-leading 85.7 points per game paced by Roy Devyn Marble's average of 16.2 points per contest. White contributes 14.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per contest.
Fran McCaffery is in his fourth season as the head coach at Iowa where he has a 69-54 record. He is 320-232 in 18 seasons overall as a head coach. McCaffery didn't not coach in the first meeting with Northwestern this season due to a suspension.
LOCKING DOWN ON DEFENSE
Northwestern's defense over the last four games has been nothing short of outstanding. In those four contests vs. Illinois, Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue, the Wildcats have held their foes to a combined 29.5 percent shooting (69-234). Indiana shot just 25.0 percent (15-60) in NU's 54-47 win Jan. 18. The mark was the lowest by a Northwestern Big Ten opponent since Michigan shot 22.2 percent in a 58-34 victory by the Wildcats on Feb. 4, 1999. Illinois' 43 points on Jan. 12 were the fewest by an NU conference foe since Minnesota in a 55-40 loss to the 'Cats on Jan. 20, 2007. Michigan State's 54 points on Jan. 15 were a season-low for the fourth-ranked Spartans. This is the first time that Northwestern has held three Big Ten opponents below 30 percent shooting in a game since the 1998-99 season, and one of those efforts took place in a Big Ten tournament contest.
Drew Crawford is the Big Ten's active leading scorer with 1,709 career points. The total ranks fourth in school history after he surpassed Michael Thompson (2008-11) Jan. 18 vs. Indiana. Crawford ranks 15th nationally among all active Division I players. 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 (15.3 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (7.0 rpg).
Crawford's Northwestern Career Ranks:
Games Played: T-1st--130
Games Started: T-1st--129
Field Goal Attempts: 3rd--1,404
Field Goals: 5th--617
3-Point Field Goals: 5th--207
3-Point Field Goal Attempts: 5th--586
Blocked Shots: 6th--91
Active Division I Players with 1,600+ Points, 600+ Rebounds, 200+ 3-Point Field Goals
Name (Team) - Pts. - Reb. - 3-pt FG
Doug McDermott (Creighton) - 2,688 - 978 - 226
Drew Crawford (NU) - 1,709 - 641 - 207
Redshirt sophomore guard Tre Demps stepped up when the Wildcats needed him in each of their Big Ten victories. With the game tied and seven minutes remaining against Illinois Jan. 12, Demps nailed three consecutive 3-pointers during a 9-2 run that led the 'Cats to the win. Six days later, NU trailed Indiana by three with seven minutes to go when Demps scored the Wildcats' next 13 points during a 13-4 run that keyed another victory. Against Purdue on Jan. 21, Demps scored 11 of his 19 points in the final 3:11 of regulation or the two overtime sessions, including hitting game-tying 3-pointers with 3:11 to go in the second half and 1:36 to go in the first OT.
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 10.8 points per game, including scoring in double figures 12 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.
Major Conference Scoring Leaders Among Players Who Have Not Made a Start This Season
(courtesy STATS Inc.--through games Jan. 22)
Name (Team) - Avg.
Ian Miller (Florida State) - 13.3
Phil Forte III (Oklahoma State) - 12.6
Zach LaVine (UCLA) - 12.6
Jason Calliste (Oregon) - 11.4
Brady Heslip (Baylor) - 11.2
Tre Demps (Northwestern) - 10.8
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.
HITTING THE GLASS
Redshirt freshman Sanjay Lumpkin has been an effective rebounder so far this season. His average of 5.2 rebounds per game ranks second among all Big Ten freshmen, trailing only Indiana's Noah Vonleh (9.4 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.
Northwestern travels to Madison next Wednesday to face Wisconsin for an 8 p.m. tip.
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