Rapid Reaction: Northwestern 63, IUPUI 61

Alex Putterman, Assistant Sports Editor

What went right:

Not too much.

Northwestern’s scoring was balanced, with no player tallying more than 12 points, but all five starters finishing with at least 8. Freshman Nate Taphorn and redshirt freshman Sanjay Lumpkin kept the team afloat in the first half, and senior forward Drew Crawford carried the Wildcats in the second.

NU led IUPUI 21-4 in second-chance points, 18-8 in points off turnovers and 17-0 in bench points. All three statistics suggest some sort of opportunism and scrappiness.

What went wrong:

The Cats barely beat a Summit League team with losses to Utah Valley, Evansville and Southeast Missouri State on its resume.

NU’s offense went cold for stretches, including the beginning of each half, when it fell behind by double digits. Crawford was invisible for most of the first half, and junior guard JerShon Cobb was quiet until a big shot at the very end.

The Cats shot only 41.4 percent, including 31.3 percent from three.

What it means:

After a blowout win over Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday, the Cats could have shown their early-season struggles were behind them. Instead, NU appeared to be a mediocre team that had a good day against UIC.

If the Cats dream of respectability as the season goes on, they need to beat these types of should-be-pushover teams convincingly. The fact that they didn’t suggests they’re a bottom-of-the-barrel Big Ten team that will struggle more than expected in Chris Collins’ first year as coach.

— Alex Putterman