Men’s Basketball: Northwestern cruises past IUPUI to extend winning streak


Daily file photo by Rachel Dubner

Gavin Skelly lays the ball up over a defender. The junior forward’s 19 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks were all career highs.

Ben Pope, Reporter

Men’s Basketball

Gavin Skelly and Sanjay Lumpkin each recorded a double-double and Bryant McIntosh fell an assist short of one of his own as Northwestern handled IUPUI on Tuesday, 87-65.

The Wildcats (10-2) led comfortably for the majority of their penultimate non-conference game, ultimately extending their winning streak to seven.

“We went through the things we wanted to do defensively: we needed to talk more, we needed to have active hands, we needed to take away their 3s, because that’s how they wanted to get back into the game,” McIntosh, a junior guard, said. “We really were able to take away their identity offensively, and then we just executed.”

Lumpkin’s double-double was his third in the Cats’ last five games. The senior forward followed up an impressive performance in Saturday’s win over Dayton by putting up 13 points and 13 rebounds against the visiting Jaguars.

Skelly, meanwhile, set career highs with 19 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks, dominating IUPUI (5-8) in the paint all night long.

Five of the junior forward’s 11 rebounds came on the offensive end, many of which he converted into putback layups. His contributions helped the team pull down its most rebounds (47) since the Nov. 11 season opener, score its most points in the paint (36) since Nov. 25 and tie a season high in blocks (12).

“Gavin is a starter for us; we just bring him off the bench because there’s value in what he brings off the bench,” coach Chris Collins said. “To me, he should be a prime candidate for Sixth Man of the Year in our league if he continues to play like this.”

Skelly’s performance made up for uneven performances from some of NU’s starters. McIntosh added 10 points and nine assists but shot just 3-of-10 from the field, continuing a largely inefficient start to the season. Meanwhile, sophomore forward Vic Law — another usual standout — was a non-factor, tallying just 3 points in 17 minutes. Collins said Law was feeling “under the weather.”

The contributions off the bench helped make up the difference. Between Skelly, freshman guard Isiah Brown and senior forward Nathan Taphorn, the team’s second unit combined for 46 points.

“We come off the bench with a lot of energy. That’s a great thing that we have on our team, we have multiple people … that can score, and I think coach knows that too,” Skelly said. “I love it, I love coming off the bench.”

NU ran out to a 21-7 lead, then answered an IUPUI pushback and maintained a double-digit edge for most of the first half. McIntosh, after missing his first five field goals, drained a pull-up 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Cats into the locker room ahead 46-31.

The home team nurtured that sizable advantage for the duration of the second half, sending an announced crowd of 6,452 at Welsh-Ryan Arena home happy. After shaky second-half performances in prior wins over DePaul, Chicago State and Dayton, McIntosh said the team focused on playing hard to the final whistle.

“What we were talking about at halftime (was) just putting a full 40 minutes together, as opposed to playing a tremendous half of basketball and then kind of not showing up that second half,” McIntosh said.

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