Men’s Basketball: Early run gives Northwestern welcome lopsided win over DePaul


Daily file photo by Rachel Dubner

Vic Law takes a defender off the dribble. The sophomore forward scored 8 of his 16 points in the first half against DePaul, helping Northwestern open up a huge lead.

Ben Pope, Reporter

Men’s Basketball

Games like Saturday’s rivalry match with DePaul, in which Northwestern was able to experiment with a variety of lineups and coast to victory in the second half, have been rare for the Wildcats thus far this season.

NU’s earlier matchups against power-conference opponents Butler, Notre Dame and Wake Forest weren’t decided until the final minute. Even Bryant trailed by just three points in the second half at Welsh-Ryan Arena last week. The difficulty of the Cats’ non-conference schedule has, unsurprisingly, led to fewer blowouts.

Saturday’s contest wasn’t supposed to be a rout, either — DePaul (4-2) plays in the reputable Big East conference and had won 20 of the 30 meetings between the two Chicago-area foes since 1949.

But it turned out to be one anyway, as an early 25-2 run by the Cats (6-2) put the game out of reach before some of the 6,751 fans had even settled into their seats.

“We wanted to come out in the game just firing,” junior guard Scottie Lindsey said. “So that was something we talked about in the huddle before the game and the huddle right in the middle of the first quarter. That was really important.”

Leading 7-6 after four minutes, NU followed through on its pregame plan and abruptly unleashed one of its most dominant six-minute stretches of the year.

Lindsey nailed three consecutive 3s, with senior forwards Sanjay Lumpkin and Nathan Taphorn also finding paydirt from beyond the arc. Junior guard Bryant McIntosh assisted on three consecutive made baskets. Even freshman center Barret Benson chipped in, draining a jump shot.

“We caught them on one of their best offensive days, where in the first half they got 18 assists on 19 baskets and it seemed like they made every open shot,” DePaul coach Dave Leitao said.

Leitao’s team kept fighting in the second half, ultimately cutting the final score to a mere 16-point margin. Collins, however, was still afforded the opportunity to play with some interesting combinations — at one point, he had three point guards (McIntosh, freshman Isiah Brown and sophomore Jordan Ash) all on the floor together — and balance the playing time.

“All nine (active) guys would’ve played double-figure minutes if Taphorn didn’t foul out,” Collins said. “That was a real positive in my opinion, being able to get a lot of guys minutes and meaningful minutes. It’s always good to have a game like that.”

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