Jan. 28, 2014
WATCH: Coach Collins Preview | Demps Preview | Crawford Preview
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern plays its record-tying sixth game against ranked opponent this month as it travels to No. 14/13 Wisconsin on Wednesday. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
This is the third time in school history that NU has taken on six ranked foes in a month, having previously done so in January 1999 and January 2013. The Wildcats' list of ranked teams this month doesn't include Michigan which was unranked at the time of the teams' meeting on Jan. 5 but has since surged to No. 10 in this week's Associated Press poll.
Northwestern won three of four games before falling to then-No. 10 Iowa 76-50 at home last Saturday. The 'Cats trailed by only six at the half, but the Hawkeyes pulled away after the break. Drew Crawford paced NU with 20 points in the contest.
First Meeting: Wisconsin surged out to a big halftime lead en route to a 76-49 victory in the conference opener for both teams Jan. 2 in Evanston. Alex Olah led all scorers with a career-best 23 points, while Nigel Hayes had a team-high 19 points for the Badgers.
The Badgers snapped a three-game losing streak by posting a 72-58 victory at Purdue on Saturday. Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin with 16 points.
Sam Dekker paces the team with an averages of 14.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Kaminsky contributes 13.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest and is second in the Big Ten with a .460 3-point field goal percentage.
Bo Ryan has a 308-116 record in 13 seasons as the head coach at Wisconsin and a 691-219 record in 30 years overall as a collegiate head coach.
CRAWFORD TOPS NU RECORDBOOK
When Drew Crawford got the starting nod against Iowa Jan. 25 he became Northwestern's career leader in both games played and games started. Crawford's 131 games played to date surpassed the previous record of 130 held by John Shurna (2009-12), while his 130 starts bested the previous mark of 129 held by Michael Thompson (2008-11).
Crawford's Northwestern Career Ranks:
Games Played: 1st--131
Games Started: 1st--130
Field Goals: 3rd--625
Field Goal Attempts: 3rd--1,421
3-Point Field Goals: 5th--209
3-Point Field Goal Attempts: 5th--593
Blocked Shots: 6th--92
LOCKING DOWN ON DEFENSE
Northwestern's defense over a four-game span from Jan. 12-21 was nothing short of outstanding. In those four contests vs. Illinois, Michigan State, Indiana and Purdue, the Wildcats 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 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 1,729 career points. The total ranks fourth in school history and is 76 points shy of Evan Eschmeyer (1995-99) for third place. 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 10th in the Big Ten in scoring (15.6 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (6.9 rpg). Michigan State's Adreian Payne is the only other Big Ten player to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.
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) - 2,702 - 988 - 227
Drew Crawford (NU) - 1,729 - 645 - 209
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 13 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. 27)
Name (Team) Avg.
Ian Miller (Florida State) - 13.1
Phil Forte (Oklahoma State) - 13.0
Zach LaVine (UCLA) - 12.0
Jason Calliste (Oregon) - 11.3
Tre Demps (Northwestern) - 10.8
Brady Heslip (Baylor) - 10.7
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 5.0 rebounds per game ranks second among all Big Ten freshmen, trailing only Indiana's Noah Vonleh (9.6 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. 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 remains on the road Saturday as it travels to Minnesota. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. Big Ten Network is providing live television coverage.
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