Thursday, December 15, 2011

Northwestern Starts Busy Stretch With Easy “W”

This game was pretty much what we expected. Texas Southern struggled on offense and NU used a balanced attack which put four players into double figures to cruise to an 81-51 win. I think NU fans had to be impressed with the athletic skill shown by NU tonight as Drew Crawford had two dunks (one off an ally-op pass from John Shurna), Shurna put down a dunk, and Reggie Hearn slammed one home as well. Those dunks came off of fast breaks which NU created due to getting some steals using their athletic skill. Overall, it was a good day for the ‘Cats and while I won’t say this erases the Baylor loss, at least that’s not the last thing that happened for NU.

One of the guys who certainly needed to rebound from the Baylor game was Luka Mirkovic. Luka’s play tonight still won’t get him listed amongst college basketball’s elite centers, but he was far more solid than he was versus Baylor. Was Baylor much better than Texas Southern? For sure. But getting good play from Luka is so key for NU that I’m thankful whenever he plays well. Tonight, I was thankful to see Luka demonstrate skill as a passer with five assists, though, I wish he’d have scored a bit more.

NU’s leading scorer was John Shurna who certainly stepped up his game in the second half as did JerShon Cobb. Shurna’s 20 points and 5-of-7 made threes were a nice bounce back from the Baylor disaster. Cobb finished with 10 points and looked really rusty early on in the first game back from a concussion. In the second half, though, he seemed to relax and let the game come to him a bit more. As a result, he ended up hitting some open shots and looking more comfortable on the floor. He’s a big player for NU especially while Alex Marcotullio battles a foot injury. At some point I’d like to see Marcotullio and Cobb both healthy at the same time for NU, but it seems as though that hasn’t happened at all in the last year and a half.

I think when people talk about this game and look at the stats they’ll wonder how NU could hit 13 threes in this game and not even make five versus Baylor. Obviously part of the answer is who the ‘Cats were playing, but it’s still good to see NU once again show the three point touch. I really liked seeing Dave Sobolewski hit the high-point of his young career with five made three pointers. Sobolewski was 5-of-8 shooting for the night with all the attempts from three point range.

NU’s other double figure scorer was Drew Crawford with 17 points. Perhaps even more impressive than his points, Drew had 5 assists and 0 turnovers and recorded two steals.

NU only gets one day off now before playing a decent Central Connecticut State team. I’m excited to see NU play that game because it should provide an increased competition level from tonight and will give us a little more insight into what this NU team really has. Of course, we might have to wait until the tough road tests in late December against Creighton and Ohio State to really know.

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