The Daily Northwestern

Men’s Basketball: Northwestern’s turnovers throw away upset opportunity

Aaron+Falzon+struggles+in+the+corner.+The+sophomore+forward+and+the+Wildcats+had+turnover+problems+in+Monday%E2%80%99s+loss.
Aaron Falzon struggles in the corner. The sophomore forward and the Wildcats had turnover problems in Monday’s loss.

Aaron Falzon struggles in the corner. The sophomore forward and the Wildcats had turnover problems in Monday’s loss.

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Aaron Falzon struggles in the corner. The sophomore forward and the Wildcats had turnover problems in Monday’s loss.

Ben Pope, Managing Editor

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


Email This Story






Trailing — but within fighting distance — for almost the entirety of the second half, Northwestern consistently squandered opportunities to cut into the deficit.

Against a ranked Michigan team with home-court advantage and superior talent, those were miscues the Wildcats (13-10, 4-6 Big Ten) simply could not afford to make.

After the game, coach Chris Collins said NU’s measly point total in the 58-47 loss was in part due to the stellar defense of the No. 24 Wolverines. That was true especially in the first half, when six of the Cats’ eight turnovers were steals by the hosts.

Those steals burned NU on the opposite end of the court, where the Cats wasted an early 14-5 lead and a valiant effort by the zone defense throughout the frame by giving up three easy breakaway dunks.

“In the first half, really they scored on run-outs, on our live-ball turnovers,” Collins said. “When we set our defense, it was very hard on them.”

But in the second half, Collins’ team struggled on offense not just because of Michigan’s efforts but also due to its own sloppiness.

Only two of NU’s eight turnovers in the latter frame were forced by steals; the other six resulted from a combination of offensive fouls, off-target passes and the like. The coach acknowledged that as well.

“We couldn’t put it in the basket, and some of that was us,” Collins said. “I thought we shot ourselves in the foot at times with some ill-advised turnovers.”

The Wolverines (18-6, 7-4), who entered the game with a plus-93 turnover margin this season that ranked the best in the conference, were hardly an unlikely candidate to challenge the Cats’ generally solid ball control (NU entered the day fourth in the Big Ten in turnover margin).

The visitors nonetheless played right into the hosts’ hands, whether with head-down charges down the floor — such as Vic Law’s run with 11:38 left that led to a steal barely past mid-court — or needless push-offs, like Scottie Lindsey’s shove with 4:27 left and the Cats down 10. When senior guard Bryant McIntosh, by far the least foul-prone of the team’s starters this season, committed a charge with 42 seconds left that realistically ended the game, it was hard to think of a more fitting nail in NU’s coffin.

As a result, the Cats scored fewer than 50 points for an embarrassing third time this year — in addition to setting season-worsts in assists (seven) and turnover differential (minus-11). That all added up to tying a season low with just 47 field goal attempts — a poor recipe when trying to upset a better shooting team like Michigan.

Email: benjaminpope2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @benpope111

Comments