It was an ugly night in Raleigh for Northwestern, which lost 69-48 to North Carolina State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
For the most part, the Wildcats got good shots; they just couldn't put them home. The Wildcats shot just 25 percent from the floor while, on the other end, ACC leading scorer T.J. Warren dropped 16 of his 22 points in the first half to build an insurmountable lead for the Wolfpack.
Here are our rapid reactions:
Did you see that? JerShon Cobb to Alex Olah. There wasn't much to choose from for this slot. At the start of the second half, Sanjay Lumpkin tried to drive the baseline and was rejected by seven-footer Jordan Vandenberg. Cobb skied for the offensive rebound, backed down against Vandenberg and snuck a crafty inside-hand bounce pass past the big man to a wide open Olah on the block. Olah finished with the layup (although he should've dunked it).
Offensive player of the game: Drew Crawford. After missing the last game of the Las Vegas Invitational with back spasms, Crawford came out and drilled two threes to open the game. He ended up shooting just 5-for-16 from the field, but he was the only Northwestern player who was aggressive every minute he was on the floor. If not for missing several layups that he probably should've put home, his stats would have looked a lot better, but he still finished with 17. He attacked with regularity and at least tried to get to the rim -- something most of his teammates can't say.
Defensive player of the game: Crawford. Like on the other end of the floor, Crawford went all out, as evidenced by him jumping over the N.C. State bench while saving a loose ball. He also finished off defensive possessions by attacking the glass, as seven of his nine rebounds came on that end. Despite his effort, the team defense just wasn't very good. Whether NU was in man-to-man or zone, the awareness wasn't there, and they gave up way too many uncontested shots in the lane.
Turning point: When Warren came alive. After Northwestern jumped out to a 6-2 lead, Warren dropped 16 of the Wolfpack's next 20 points, while NU scored just five during that stretch. Warren showed the entire arsenal. He hit a fallaway jumper along the baseline and a floater in the lane off a free throw, and he even got to the line after stealing an inbounds pass. After his barrage, it was 22-11, and NU could never recover.
Super sub: Tre Demps. Coach Chris Collins has talked about wanting Demps to score, as long as he does it the right way. Against N.C. State, he did that. Rather then forcing shots, he let the offense to come to him, and he attacked at the right time. Demps came off the bench in the first half and immediately knocked down a three from the corner, and it set the stage for a solid night of scoring. Demps finished with 12 points on 3-for-5 shooting.