March 5, 2014
WATCH: Coach Collins Interview | D. Crawford Interview
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern wraps up its 2013-14 home season Thursday as it takes on Penn State at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Senior Night ceremonies begin at 5:30 p.m. with tip-off slated for 6:00.
Drew Crawford, Nikola Cerina and James Montgomery III are being prior to the tip of their final collegiate home game.
The Wildcats came up just short at Nebraska last Saturday, falling 54-47 despite a game-high 20 points by Alex Olah. The 7-foot sophomore center hit a career-best three 3-pointers in the contest to go along with seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
Thursday's matchup features three of top four players in the Big Ten in minutes played. Crawford is first at 36.3 minutes per game while Penn State's Tim Frazier (35.2) ranks third and D.J. Newbill is fourth (34.9).
Last Season: Each team won on the other's home court a year ago with NU posting a 70-54 victory in University Park Jan. 10 before the Nittany Lions won 66-59 March 7 in Evanston.
SCOUTING PENN STATE
The Nittany Lions dropped a close 71-66 home decision to Wisconsin on Sunday. D.J. Newbill led Penn State with 23 points.
Newbill paces the team and ranks third in the Big Ten with an average of 17.8 points per game. Tim Frazier's average of 15.8 points per contest ranks eighth in the league while his average of 5.6 assists per game leads the conference.
Patrick Chambers is in his third season as the head coach at Penn State where he has a 36-56 record. He has a career record of 78-84 in five seasons overall as a 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 139 games played to date surpassed the previous record of 130 held by John Shurna (2009-12), while his 138 starts bested the previous mark of 129 held by Michael Thompson (2008-11).
Crawford's Northwestern Career Ranks:
Games Played: 1st--139
Games Started: 1st--138
Minutes Played: 2nd--4,474
Field Goal Attempts: 2nd--1,517
Field Goals: 3rd--667
3-Point Field Goals: 4th--224
3-Point Field Goal Attempts: 5th--638
Blocked Shots: 6th--96
DOING IT WITH DEFENSE
Defense keyed Northwestern's stretch during which it won five of seven games from Jan. 12-Feb. 1. Dating back to Jan. 12, the Wildcats have held their foes to a combined 38.9 percent shooting. 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. Wisconsin's .263 field goal percentage Jan. 29 was its fourth-lowest in Bo Ryan's 13 seasons as head coach and its second-lowest in a home game (.222 vs. North Dakota State, 1/21/06). Over the last 30 years, this is the first time that Northwestern has held four Big Ten opponents (Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Wisconsin) below 30 percent shooting in a game.
CRAWFORD NAMED FIRST-TEAM ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN
Northwestern graduate student Drew Crawford was named to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team on Thursday. He is the first Wildcat men's basketball player selected to the first team since Shon Morris in 1988. Crawford was previously named to the second team as a junior in 2012. He is the fourth first-team selection for NU in school history, joining Jim Burns (1967), Mike Campbell (1980) and Morris (1987, 1988). Crawford earned his bachelor's degree in economics in June and is currently working towards his master's degree in sports administration.
Northwestern has already racked up a number of impressive Big Ten road wins in some places where it's difficult to succeed. The 'Cats posted a 54-47 victory at Indiana's hallowed Assembly Hall Jan. 18 before notching a 65-56 win at Wisconsin's Kohl Center Jan. 29. The Badgers' home loss was just their 20th in Bo Ryan's 13 seasons at the helm, including only the 13th by a Big Ten team. UW had been 68-4 vs. unranked league foes under Ryan. The 'Cats followed up the win in Madison with a 55-54 victory at Minnesota three days later, NU's first win in Minneapolis since 2007.
Drew Crawford is the Big Ten's active leading scorer with 1,851 career points. The total ranks third in school history and is 49 points shy of Billy McKinney (1974-77) for second place. Crawford ranks 21st nationally among all active Division I players. His 30-point performance at Wisconsin Jan. 29 marked a season high and was the highest point total by a Big Ten player at Kohl Center since Shannon Brown of Michigan State scored 31 on Jan. 8, 2006. Crawford ranks 10th in the Big Ten in scoring (15.5 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (6.5 rpg). He and Michigan State's Adreian Payne are the only Big Ten player to rank in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding.
Active Division I Players with 1,700+ Points, 600+ Rebounds, 200+ 3-Point Field Goals
Name (Team) - Pts. - Reb. - 3-pt FG
Doug McDermott (Creighton) - 2,944 - 1,041 - 249
Torrey Craig (USC Upstate) - 2,084 - 926 - 291
Drew Crawford (Northwestern) - 1,851 - 691 - 224
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. He tallied seven of his 10 points during a decisive 30-9 second-half run that turned a six-point deficit into a 15-point lead at Wisconsin Jan. 29. Three days later with the game at Minnesota tied 52-52, Demps' 3-pointer with 55 seconds remaining were the decisive points in a 55-54 NU victory.
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 11.1 points per game, including scoring in double figures 19 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. Demps tallied a game-high 19 points in his first start of the season Feb. 22 vs. Indiana.
Major Conference Scoring Leaders Among Players Who Have Made Five or Fewer Starts This Season
(courtesy STATS Inc.--through games March 3)
Name (Team) - Avg.
Ian Miller (Florida State) - 13.9
Jason Calliste (Oregon) - 12.2
Michael Dixon Jr. (Memphis) - 12.0
Tre Demps (Northwestern) - 11.1
Zach LaVine (UCLA) - 10.7
Northwestern closes out its 2013-14 regular season Sunday as it travels to Purdue. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m. Central time with Big Ten Network providing live television coverage.
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