One of the fastest starts you'll ever see opened tonight's contest as Northwestern used 20 first half points by Drew Crawford to jump out to a 40-9 lead in what eventually became a dominating 30 point win over Texas Southern.
Crawford's fantastic effort in the first half is what most fans will talk about at the end of the day, but I was personally most impressed with the Wildcats defense. NU went all man to man and it looked vastly improved from last year and even better than their effort in last weeks exhibition. I saw far better communication on switches and hedges and the increased athletics skill of this young team was certainly on display as Texas Southern had trouble finding open shots.
Northwestern on the other hand didn't have trouble with finding open shots. The Wildcats made 11 threes tonight led by four from Crawford and three each from Reggie Hearn and Kale Abrahamson. Abrahamson was a surprise as some speculated he might be a potential redshirt, but his ability to put the ball in the basket and the absence of Sanjay Lumpkin(mono) and Nikola Cernina(personal reasons) put him on the court and he played great. Kale showed great range from three and very nice quickness as well as a nice touch at the free throw line which is a spot I have some conerns about with this group of Wildcats. In fact, as Kale hit shots I was thinking Sanjay and Nikola might want to look up the story of Wally Pip.
Overall, while Texas Southern wasn't great, I left this game with a positive feeling. Everyone who played for NU did something good. For some guys it was points, for other rebounds, and for others assists. Now, the key is to stay consistent and play another good game on Thursday night. That's a short turnaround, but these guys are worth watching so tell a friend to check out the game, because the limited crowd was about the only let down tonight.