‘Cats Go Bombs Away On Brown, Close Out Non-Conference with 63-42 Win

That was fun. Well, OK, a fire alarm going off with :40 to go in Welsh-Ryan Arena was a bit scary, but hey, why should any Northwestern hoops game go perfectly? The ‘Cats blew out an overmatched Brown team by blitzing the Bears with a 13-24 (54%) display from 3-point land, and it was even better during crunch time (started 12-fo-19). I expected the ‘Cats to pound it inside to Alex Olah and let him have a field day, but instead, the ‘Cats used high octane activity on the perimeter to bury Brown – and Olah was even part of the party.  The ‘Cats big man hit one seemingly oopsy three and then drained a second half look accounting for six of his eight points on the day and also symbolizing just how much we won this game from beyond the arc. Tre Demps raced out to a great start going perfect from the floor and the line to post 9 first half points, but then he caught a bad call break and saw some pine time with two fouls.

David Sobolewski returned to his scoring ways pacing the ‘Cats with 14 points and six assists including one dazzling laser beam as the shot clock expired and oh yeah, one of those rare 4-point plays thanks to a three and a foul. Sobo’s mastery in running this offense helped spread the wealth in scoring, which was somewhat surprising considering Reggie Hearn sat this one out after injuring his leg against Stanford on Friday night. The ‘Cats amazingly took only five FTs the entire game and perhaps the only thing more shocking was the fact they actually drained four of them!

Give credit to Bill Carmody and the ‘Cats defense in this one as they went in to lockdown mode on the local kid, Matt Sullivan, and shut him down, allowing only one NU-like back door lay-up for a guy averaging 16 ppg. Beating Brown (3-6) is nothing to get too fired up about, but it did give the ‘Cats one more game post Crawford to try and get some flow. We’ll need flow, Hearn, Cerina and a whole lot more if we’re going to be able to compete with the top half of the B1G this season. Our next game, oh, just a season opening match-up against #2 Michigan on January 3. Let’s hope we at least get to see the football team at halftime raise the roof by hoisting the Gator Bowl championship trophy after beating MSU.

I’m really loving Tre Demps game and he’s got that extra gear few NU guys have. The ‘Cats spread the wealth as all five starters plus Demps had at least 8 points, but none of them. other than Sobo (14 pts) hit double digits. The ‘Cats had 21 assists, remarkably leaving only two baskets that went unassisted. They again showed how horrible they are at rebounding, a feature that will become greatly exploited against the B1Gs. The team is beyond a work in progess and with so many injuries causing Carmody to show so many different looks, Alex Marcotullio added to that literally by going Craig Moore with his haircut.

The ‘Cats needed a game where they could cruise to victory as they’ve been few and far between. It’s great to see Sobo get “only” 33 minutes and give the guys credit for stepping up on offense in the absence of Reggie Hearn. Now, it’s a pretty long layoff – nine days – before reality hits in. A sold out Welsh-Ryan Arena will be rocking for #2 Michigan opening up the B1G season, but will the 50% of the fans that will be Michigan fans be rolling? We’ll have to see which bodies are available as I hope Hearn and Cerina can be at full strength as we’ll need that and a whole lot to go right to have a chance.

Click here for the box score from ESPN.com. 

  • Chasmo

    While beating Brown might be helpful to increase the confidence level of some players on whom NU must depend if it is to win four or five Big Ten games, this victory is meaningless in terms of judging how good a team NU will be in conference play. Brown is far inferior to the least athletic Big Ten team NU will face. If NU doesn’t see a miraculous improvement in the play of Abrahamson, Olah, and Turner, winning more than five Big Ten games will be very difficult.
    Let’s hope for the best.

  • DarkSide

    The first half of the season is over. Frankly, I would have expected this record even without the injuries. The only difference is that I would have imagined a loss to Baylor and a win vs. UIC. The B1G season will likely be a beat down. We are young and undermanned. However, adversity brings opportunity. Our team has a chance to grow in the crucible of conference play. We have young players who will get invaluable playing time against bigger, stronger and more seasoned opponents. Olah, Abrahamson, Demps, Lumpkin and Turner along with Sobo can learn to mature as a unit under a baptism of fire. Will it be pretty? Not likely. However, if Cobb and Crawford can return (healthy, I would add) for the 2013/14 season, we may finally break on through to the other side.