Men’s Basketball: Northwestern struggles to score with Vic Law out


Daily file photo by Allison Albelda

Pete Nance shoots a three. The freshman forward got his first career start in Sunday’s loss to the Wolverines.

Andrew Golden, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

On Sunday, Northwestern basketball faced a tough test: No. 2 Michigan.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they had to take it without their go-to player who had bailed them out on so many occasions.

Around 45 minutes before the start of the game, it was announced that senior forward Vic Law would not be playing due to a lower body injury. Law has been NU’s first option on offense all season, leading the team with 17.3 points per game, and his presence was clearly missed.

“I kinda knew yesterday,” coach Chris Collins said about Law’s game status. “When he didn’t do anything yesterday, we kinda prepared to play this game without him. It just wasn’t smart.”

NU (10-7, 1-5 Big Ten) didn’t pass the test without its senior captain. The Cats got off to a slow start against Michigan (17-0, 6-0) and never recovered, losing 80-60.

From the jump, NU looked lost as the Wolverines went on a 10-0 run while the Cats shot 0-for-6 from the field. NU fought back into the game early, but Michigan seemingly couldn’t miss in the first half and created an insurmountable lead.

The Wolverines shot 21-for-31 from the field before the break and 50 percent on 3-pointers. Junior center Jon Teske single-handedly tore the Cats apart in the first half with 17 points and junior guard Zavier Simpson added 24 points, including five 3-pointers.

“They’re a really good team all around, but give Zavier (Simpson) and (Jon) Teske a lot of credit,” Collins said. “Their shooting in the game really broke things open.”

Despite a reshuffled starting lineup that brought more shooting on the floor, NU simply couldn’t find an offensive rhythm. Freshman Miller Kopp, senior Dererk Pardon and graduate transfer Ryan Taylor combined to score 26 points in the first half. The rest of the team scored two points on 1-for-12 shooting.

Pardon was a menace in the paint, scoring 20 points on 10-for-16 shooting, but the supporting cast around him struggled to find the basket. Aside from Pardon, the rest of the team shot 34 percent from the field.

The Wildcats are ranked 155th in the country in offensive efficiency, behind teams such as Davidson, Coastal Carolina and Texas State. Recently, as Law has struggled from the field or not played, the offense has had some of its worst outings of the season.

In Law’s last three games before missing time, the senior forward has scored just 10.3 points per game, just over seven points below his average. The Cats have scored 64 points per game in the past three games — almost nine points below their 70.7 points per game during the season.

While Law works through his lower body injury, NU will be looking for another scorer to help turn the Cats’ Big Ten fortune.

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