Men’s Basketball: Wildcats win 8th straight, cruise past Sacred Heart

Tre+Demps+calls+out+a+play+as+he+runs+to+the+offensive+side.+The+senior+guard+had+17+points+in+Northwestern%E2%80%99s+dominant+win+over+Sacred+Heart.
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Men’s Basketball: Wildcats win 8th straight, cruise past Sacred Heart

Tre Demps calls out a play as he runs to the offensive side. The senior guard had 17 points in Northwestern’s dominant win over Sacred Heart.

Tre Demps calls out a play as he runs to the offensive side. The senior guard had 17 points in Northwestern’s dominant win over Sacred Heart.

Daily file photo by Sam Schumacher

Tre Demps calls out a play as he runs to the offensive side. The senior guard had 17 points in Northwestern’s dominant win over Sacred Heart.

Daily file photo by Sam Schumacher

Daily file photo by Sam Schumacher

Tre Demps calls out a play as he runs to the offensive side. The senior guard had 17 points in Northwestern’s dominant win over Sacred Heart.

Cole Paxton, Reporter

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Men’s Basketball


Coming off a late comeback and overtime win Saturday against DePaul, the Wildcats faced no such drama on Monday.

Senior center Alex Olah led Northwestern (11-1) with 21 points, tying his season high, while senior guard Tre Demps added 17 points of his own as the Cats handily defeated visiting Sacred Heart (1-9), 103-67.

“Always the game right before the holidays you want to play well,” coach Chris Collins said on Big Ten Network.

Olah took advantage of a far smaller Pioneers front court that did not have a starter taller than 6-foot-7. Olah touched the ball on most NU possessions in the game’s opening minutes, routinely laying the ball in above the outstretched arms of Sacred Heart defenders.

The 7-foot Romanian, who reached 1,000 career points early in the first half, scored in double figures for the third straight game. Although many of those performances came against smaller teams, it is nonetheless a positive sign for Olah as Big Ten play approaches.

“When Alex is being forceful like that, wanting the ball, being aggressive, it just opens it up for everybody else,” Collins told BTN. “It makes it very difficult to defend us.”

The Cats’ offense was far from one-dimensional, however. Eight NU players scored at least 8 points, and the Cats shot over 50 percent on both two-point field goals and threes.

NU also had a whopping 30 assists on 36 field goals, led by a career high 10 from sophomore guard Bryant McIntosh.

“We’re an unselfish group,” Collins said. “I love the way the ball moves.”

Particularly in the first half, the Cats also made their mark at the free throw line. NU went 13-of-15 at the line before the break, ultimately finishing 16-of-19. Meanwhile, Sacred Heart attempted 21 of their own free throws but made just 13.

Despite the offensive firepower, it was a strong defensive stretch late in the first half that helped the Cats pull away. NU limited Sacred Heart to just 2 points over nearly eight minutes, turning a slim 3-point lead into a 17 point advantage.

The sloppy Pioneers also committed three turnovers in that span.

The Cats will take a short break for the holidays and return to action in their final non-conference game against Loyola (Maryland) on Sunday.

“We come back and the real season begins,” Collins said. “It’s time for Big Ten basketball.”

Email: colepaxton2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ckpaxton

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