EVANSTON, IL- In the days leading up to the encounter between the Northwestern Wildcats (6-2) and the DePaul Blue Demons (4-2), many had expected a very competitive ballgame. Especially with both programs seemingly on a turnaround. But once the game was actually played, it was all Northwestern as the Wildcats trounced the Blue Demons 80-64. DPU has now lost two in-a-row to the “Cardiac Cats” dating back to last season.
The Cats’ lit up the Demons as they came out of the gate shooting early and often in one of their best performances against a Chicago-area program. NU had a 54-19 lead at halftime, the most points scored in a first half since putting up 55 points against Sacred Heart back in December of 2015. In the end Northwestern made 43-percent of their field goals (26-of-60), shot 45-percent from the three-point line (10-of-22), and converted 75-percent of their free throws (18-of-24). Thanks to Northwestern’s defense DePaul finished with 33-percent, 10-percent, and 71-percent in those same categories respectively.
“I’m very pleased with the win, I was very proud with how my guys approached the start of the game. I thought we had a great first half, we were locked in on both ends,” said Northwestern head coach Chris Collins in his post-game press conference.
As for DePaul head coach Dave Leitao, he spoke very highly of the job Collins has done thus far in his post-game comments.
“I think Chris in four years….. Recruit by recruit, practice by practice, game by game, has held down his ideals. And now he’s got guys that truly understand, and has skill packages to back up what the definition of Northwestern Basketball is about in his eyes.
“He has attackers, he has a fluid offensive group, his front line works hard, and quite honestly I don’t know that we, as much we talked about it, were ready for that challenge,” he said.
Attack they did indeed as four Northwestern players finished in double figures led by junior guard Scottie Lindsey with 19 points, junior forward Gavin Skelly had 15, redshirt sophomore forward Vic Law added 16, while senior forward Sanjay Lumpkin pitched in a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
“I’m going to shoot my open shots. If I’m hot like that, I’m taking my shots,” said Lindsey afterwards.
“The first half was great to see,” added Lumpkin. He continued, “It definitely takes pressure off of everyone else (when we score like that).”
DePaul was led by senior guard Darrick Wood who scored 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go with eight rebounds. Wood led the Demons in all three of those categories.
“Obviously it’s a severe disappointment because of our performance (on Saturday),” Leitao said.
That severe disappointment however will need to be forgotten quickly as DePaul is still an above-.500 team. While missing out on a chance to defeat a Big Ten school is huge, they still have a long season ahead of them.
As for Northwestern, they didn’t let the loss of sophomore center Dererk Pardon -who suffered a broken hand earlier in the week and is out in definitly- effect them. The Wildcats have more than enough talent to make up for that loss as evidenced by the fact that they still snagged 41 total rebounds and blocked seven of DePaul’s shots.
Next up for Northwestern is a week to rest a little bit and practice before hosting New Orleans on December 11th. DePaul returns home to host Lamar on Tuesday.