​Men’s Basketball: ​Northwestern falters with unbalanced attack


Nathan Richards/Daily Senior Staffer

Bryant McIntosh has been scoring in bunches as of late. The freshman guard has averaged 16.8 points per game on 52 percent shooting over the last four contests

Jesse Kramer, Reporter

Wisconsin’s array of offensive weapons was too much to handle for a Northwestern team that once again put on a two-man show as the Badgers blew past the Wildcats 81-58.

Having junior guard Tre Demps and freshman guard Bryant McIntosh do most of the work in the Cats’ Big Ten opener against Rutgers​ ​resulted in a win. But it didn’t work Sunday, when the Cats played a national title contender.

NU dug a 22-point hole, trailing 43-21 at halftime.​ ​Sixteen of the Cats’ points in the first half came from Demps and McIntosh, and only four players scored total.

“I think coming into this year the thing we really wanted to do was have everyone score,” Demps said. “Me and (Bryant) being the guards, we have to find a way to get those guys going. That’s our responsibility. That’s the kind of team we have to be to be successful. A successful formula is for us to have multiple guys barely get double figures.”

The Badgers received major contributions from five players as they built their first-half lead. Forwards Sam Dekker, Nigel Hayes and Duje Dukan all reached double figures in scoring in the first 20 minutes. Guard Josh Gasser added 6 points and center Frank Kaminsky had 5.

Kaminsky, the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, finished with tying a team-high 16 points, along with 10 rebounds and six assists.

“I really enjoy watching them play,” coach Chris Collins said. “They’re unselfish men. They really seem to enjoy playing together.”

Even the Badgers players who did not score effectively made other offensive contributions. Guard Traevon Jackson dished out six assists even though he shot 3-of-11 from the field.

By the end of the night, Wisconsin posted 81 points, with four players reaching double figures and three more scoring at least 6 points. That’s balance, and it’s part of the Badgers’ identity.

“I think that’s what’s cool about our team this year,” Dekker said. “We have a lot of guys who are confident to take shots. If there’s an open shot, take it.”

Meanwhile, of NU’s 58 points, Demps and McIntosh combined for 30 of them, shooting 12-of-25 from the field.

The rest of the team made just 12-of-36 from the field, and Demps and McIntosh assisted four of those makes.

Junior center Alex Olah and senior guard JerShon Cobb, who were expected to be two of NU’s key players this season, totaled 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting.

“We have to have Olah in double figures. We need to get JerShon about 10 points,” Collins said. “You get four or five guys in double figures. That’s what we’ve got to be.”

Email: jessekramer2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @Jesse_Kramer