Men’s Basketball: Dererk Pardon carries Northwestern to road victory

Dererk+Pardon+dribbles+around+a+defender.+The+freshman+center%2C+who+was+forced+to+use+his+redshirt+after+Alex+Olah+injured+his+foot%2C+erupted+for+28+points+and+12+rebounds+Wednesday+to+lead+the+Cats+to+a+comeback+victory+over+Nebraska.+
Back to Article
Back to Article

Men’s Basketball: Dererk Pardon carries Northwestern to road victory

Dererk Pardon dribbles around a defender. The freshman center, who was forced to use his redshirt after Alex Olah injured his foot, erupted for 28 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday to lead the Cats to a comeback victory over Nebraska.

Dererk Pardon dribbles around a defender. The freshman center, who was forced to use his redshirt after Alex Olah injured his foot, erupted for 28 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday to lead the Cats to a comeback victory over Nebraska.

Stephen J. Carrera/Northwestern Athletic Communications

Dererk Pardon dribbles around a defender. The freshman center, who was forced to use his redshirt after Alex Olah injured his foot, erupted for 28 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday to lead the Cats to a comeback victory over Nebraska.

Stephen J. Carrera/Northwestern Athletic Communications

Stephen J. Carrera/Northwestern Athletic Communications

Dererk Pardon dribbles around a defender. The freshman center, who was forced to use his redshirt after Alex Olah injured his foot, erupted for 28 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday to lead the Cats to a comeback victory over Nebraska.

Cole Paxton, Reporter

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story







Men’s Basketball


After he burned his redshirt and made his collegiate debut Sunday against Loyola Maryland, freshman center Dererk Pardon said he was nervous. If he was nervous on Wednesday, it didn’t show.

Playing in just his second career game because of senior center Alex Olah’s foot injury, Pardon paced Northwestern with 28 points and added 12 rebounds, leading Northwestern (13-1, 1-0 Big Ten) to a 81-72 road win against Nebraska (8-6, 0-1) to kick off each teams’ Big Ten slate.

“For him to just come out and get 28 points and 12 rebounds, clean up every offensive rebound, finish everything around the basket, make his free throws, just an outstanding performance by a young player that I knew we had really high hopes for coming in,” coach Chris Collins said. “He was an under-the-radar recruit that we felt had a chance to be really good, and his work ethic and his ability to be ready when called upon like he was when Alex went down was amazing.”

Pardon made his biggest impact in the second half. He scored 23 of his 28 points after the break, and at times single handedly kept the Wildcats in the game during an extended Cornhuskers run.

He shot an impressive 11-for-14 from the field, and went 6-for-8 from the free throw line. In comparison, graduate center Joey van Zegeren, who started Wednesday, has shot just 11-for-26 at the line this season.

“Always playing hard. That’s what I do every day,” Pardon said. “I saw Nebraska got a little tired, so I kept on pushing up level of the intensity. That’s what I felt won the game.”

Nearly all of Pardon’s field goals came from inside the paint. He took advantage of a smaller Nebraska front court whose tallest starter, 6-foot-8 Michael Jacobson, fouled out in just 18 minutes of action.

As impressive as his scoring was, Pardon was similarly forceful on the glass, recording seven offensive rebounds when no one else on the court had more than seven total rebounds.

“He crashed the boards. He rolled well and he was just aggressive,” Nebraska guard Andrew White III said. “He just went out there and played hard and confident.”

NU desperately needed Pardon’s points in the second half. He scored the Cats’ first 6 of the period and 13 of their opening 22 after the break, slimming what had been a 12 point deficit to a 3 point margin.

Pardon’s performance is even more impressive considering the minutes he played. He entered for van Zegeren in the first minute of the second half, and logged 19 consecutive minutes before leaving in the game’s final seconds. His 29 total minutes were fourth among all Cats and an uptick from the 23 he played on Sunday.

It’s unclear if Pardon will start Saturday against No. 4 Maryland, though it seems certain that the freshman will continue to play significant minutes even after Olah returns.

“The joke’s kind of on me, I guess,” Collins told the media in Lincoln. “I was going to redshirt the kid.”

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

Comments