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December 27, 2013

Rapid reaction: Buzzer beaten

EVANSTON-It's ironic that in a game that was as ugly as Whoopi Goldberg in a thong, both Northwestern and DePaul came up with beautiful plays down the stretch that could have decided the outcome.

But DePaul got the last one -- a Billy Garrett layup at the buzzer -- that allowed the Blue Demons to escape, 57-56, in a game that neither team really deserved to win.

Here are our rapid reactions:

Did you see that? Despite both teams turning in abysmal offensive performances, there were two potential game-winners in the last five seconds. Dave Sobolewski hit his first shot of the night, after seven straight misses, and it was a three-pointer with 4.9 seconds left that gave Northwestern a 56-55 lead. But any joy was fleeting, as Garrett hit the dagger just a few ticks later.

Offensive player of the game: Tre Demps, by a landslide, because no one else on either team came close. Demps was the lone bright spot for a Northwestern offense that shot just 32.1 percent from the floor and had just two more baskets (17) than turnovers (15). He was named the game's MVP after hitting 7-of-16 field goals, including 4-for-8 on three-pointers, to lead all scorers with 23 points. The rest of the Wildcats hit just 10 of their 37 shots.

Defensive player of the game: Sanjay Lumpkin. The redshirt freshman wound up playing 34 minutes, in large part because of the solid defensive job he did on DePaul's athletic wings, as well as his team-high four steals. He also contributed seven rebounds.

Super sub: Demps. Duh. The guard played 34 minutes, but he's still technically comes off the bench, so he gets our vote. Nate Taphorn, who hit two three-pointers, was really the only other candidate.

Turning point: This one wasn't over until Garrett's layup bounced on the rim at the buzzer and fell through for the winner. DePaul masterfully broke Northwestern's press on its final possession, and Cleveland Melvin calmly passed up a wide-open triple to find Garrett under the hoop. Northwestern coach Chris Collins called Melvin's decision "a great play." Referees had to review the video to make sure Garrett's shot fell before the final horn. It did.

Xs and Os:Any boost from JerShon Cobb's return from a sprained ankle just didn't materialize for the Wildcats. The redshirt sophomore played just 13 minutes and looked limited both offensively and defensively. He took just one shot but made it count -- a clutch three-pointer down the stretch. Despite hitting Northwestern's biggest shot of the night, Sobolewski continued to struggle, finishing 1-for-8 from the field with five turnovers.

Northwestern NEWS


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