Men’s Basketball: Wildcats relying on balanced attack early in season


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Freshman guard Scottie Lindsey fires a jump shot during Northwestern’s game against Houston Baptist. Lindsey scored 10 points in 13 minutes against Brown, showing off the Wildcats’ depth.

Huzaifa Patel, Reporter

Men’s Basketball

A day before their home tilt against North Florida, the Wildcats got together Wednesday for their last practice before beginning the Cancun Challenge.

The team’s endurance will be tested, as they will play four games in seven days, two at home in Evanston and two in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico.

“It is weird because you don’t play any games for so long, you practice, practice, practice and then you dive in and you have a lot of games,” coach Chris Collins said. “There’s no question we played well versus Brown, but now you’ve got to flush that and you got to lock in on North Florida.”

During the first few games, Collins has countered the scheduling kinks with a deeper lineup focused on maximizing the effectiveness of his players.

“I think I played 11 guys in the first half of the Brown game,” Collins said. “For me that’s kind of a new thing. I’m used to settling into a shorter rotation, but that’s not the kind of team that we have this year. We have more guys who can help.”

Collins referenced guard Scotty Lindsey’s strong performance against Brown — 10 points in 13 minutes — as well as senior point guard Dave Sobolewski’s strong play as a backup point guard as a basis for a bigger rotation.

“I’ve told our guys all the time, I like to be in a position where there’s a lot of guys that are playing well,” Collins said. “I’m okay with those guys being a little mad at the coach sometimes and wanting to get in there. That’s a good thing as long as it’s channeled the right way.”

Part of the reason why Collins has opted to sport a deeper lineup thus far is because of the versatility of skill-sets on the Cats’ roster. In their two wins this season, they’ve received production on offense from two completely different groups of players.

“The thing that I’ve been saying a lot that’s been proven to be true at least initially is how balanced we are,” Collins said. “The guys who really stepped up and played great against Houston Baptist and helped us win did fine, but you saw against Brown it was Sanjay (Lumpkin), Scott Lindsey, it was Jershon Cobb, three guys that led us in scoring that weren’t our three leading scorers in the first game.”

Collins specifically mentioned Lumpkin’s play and the boost it gave the Cats against Brown.

“I’ve made the comment that we’re not going to run our offense through Sanjay, and that’s true, we’re not,” Collins said. “That doesn’t mean he can’t score 15 points in a game. He’s doing a great job at being a threat for us. He’s making his open shots, and then I think he’s finishing much better around the basket.”

Lumpkin remains a linchpin in the Cats’ defensive game plan as well. His ability to switch onto virtually any perimeter defender has made it easier for the Cats to stop penetration into the lane. It takes more than just one player like Lumpkin to make the switches work, and, luckily for Collins, he has those players.

“It’s a big reason why I got on the floor, especially last year,” Lumpkin said. “I guarded 1 through 5 last year. For instance, I started on Adreian Payne one game, (and) I can switch onto point guards, and that’s a trait that a lot of guys on this team have. A lot of length, a lot of athleticism to switch onto any position.”

The Cats will need all of their guys to contribute in the upcoming stretch, especially against North Florida. The Ospreys are projected to finish towards the top of their conference, one that features recent Cinderella Florida Gulf Coast.

“They have an outstanding point guard in Dallas Moore, who averaged about 20 in their league,” Collins said. “This team is a good team. (They’re) definitely capable of beating us if we’re not ready.”

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