March 8, 2014
The Last Meeting
January 21, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern closes out its regular season Sunday as it travels to Purdue seeking a season sweep of the Boilermakers. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m. Central time with Big Ten Network providing live television coverage.
The Wildcats struggled on the offensive end all night in a 59-32 home loss to Penn State on Thursday. Sophomore center Alex Olah led all scorers with 14 points but NU shot a season-low 23.3 percent from the field in the contest.
Olah has raised his level of play over the last three contests, averaging 17.0 points per game against Indiana, Nebraska and Penn State while shooting 66.7 percent from the field (18-27) over the span.
Entering the weekend, Northwestern's Big Ten tournament opening-round opponent is still up for grabs as it could be either Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska or Ohio State.
First Meeting: Northwestern didn't lead until the second overtime but the Wildcats pulled out a 63-60 win over Purdue in two extra periods Jan. 21 in Evanston. Drew Crawford and Tre Demps led NU with 19 points apiece.
The Boilermakers are coming off a 76-70 loss at Wisconsin on Wednesday. Ronnie Johnson led Purdue with 15 points and six assists while A.J. Hammons had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Terone Johnson paces the team with an average of 12.1 points per game. Hammons contributes 10.6 points, a team-best 7.5 rebounds and a Big Ten-leading 3.1 blocked shots per game.
Matt Painter is in his ninth season as the head coach at Purdue where he has a 191-110 record. He has a career record of 216-115 in 10 seasons overall as a head coach.
OLAH STEPS UP
Sophomore center Alex Olah continues to show why he's one of the most improved players in the Big Ten this season. After posting his first collegiate double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds against Indiana Feb. 22, Olah posted 20 points at Nebraska March 1. It was his second 20-point game of the season after scoring a career-best 23 points vs. Wisconsin Jan. 2. Coupled with a 14-point performance vs. Penn State March 6, Olah is averaging 17.0 points per game over his last three games while shooting 66.7 percent (18-27) from the field. Olah ranks eighth in the Big Ten with a .505 field goal percentage after shooting .415 as a freshman. His average of 1.8 blocked shots per game ranks fourth in the league.
CRAWFORD CLIMBS 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 140 games played to date surpassed the previous record of 130 held by John Shurna (2009-12), while his 139 starts bested the previous mark of 129 held by Michael Thompson (2008-11).
Crawford's Northwestern Career Ranks:
Games Played: 1st--140
Games Started: 1st--139
Minutes Played: 2nd--4,512
Field Goal Attempts: 2nd--1,526
Field Goals: 3rd--669
3-Point Field Goals: 4th--225
3-Point Field Goal Attempts: 5th--643
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 1,857 career points. The total ranks third in school history and is 43 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 (15.1 ppg) and seventh in rebounding (6.6 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) - 2,966 - 1,053 - 253
Torrey Craig (USC Upstate) - 2,114 - 932 - 295
Drew Crawford (Northwestern) - 1,857 - 698 - 225
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 10.9 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 6)
Name (Team) - Avg.
Ian Miller (Florida State) - 13.6
Michael Dixon Jr. (Memphis) - 12.3
Jason Calliste (Oregon) - 12.2
Tre Demps (Northwestern) - 10.9
Zach LaVine (UCLA) - 10.8
Northwestern opens Big Ten tournament play next Thursday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis against an opponent and at a time to be determined.
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