Rapid Recap: Michigan 79, Northwestern 54


Gabriela Carroll, Assistant Sports Editor

Unlike a lot of Northwestern’s recent losses, this one wasn’t even close.

The Wildcats struggled to match Michigan’s high scoring attack with shots of their own, and when the Wolverines pulled away late in the first half, NU fell victim to one of its biggest weaknesses –– countering big offensive runs.

This time, the game didn’t go down to the wire, and the Cats (6-17, 1-12 Big Ten) lost 79-52 to Michigan (15-9, 6-7).

The Cats went over five minutes without scoring in the first half, and a field goal from sophomore forward Miller Kopp and a three from senior A.J. Turner helped end that streak, but NU had already fallen into a large deficit. NU went into the break trailing 38-23.

Michigan opened the second half scoring with a layup from Isaiah Livers, a dunk from Teske, and a layup from Zavier Simpson, starting right where they left off in the first half to go up by 19.

The Cats fought to come back from 20 points down, and were able to cut it to less than 15, but ultimately, NU could not make shots in key moments that Michigan was able to make. The Cats struggled to stop the Wolverine momentum that got the pro-Michigan crowd on its feet and buried NU completely.

1. NU got bullied in the paint in the first half.

Despite their strong defense on Michigan’s bigs in the first four minutes, the Cats struggled to keep up that pressure after the under-16 timeout. Michigan went 5-11 on layups and 2-3 on dunks in the first half, even with starting center Jon Teske on the bench for most of it.

The Wolverines only scored 14 of their 38 first half points in the paint, but they were able to find open opportunities and make what were tough shots in the opening minutes look easy, and their other two field goals came just outside the arc.

2. Jared Jones saw extended minutes in breakout performance.

Freshman forward Jared Jones was a rotation player who averaged around 10 minutes and 2.5 points. Against Michigan, Jones scored ten points –– the second best scoring total of his career –– and played 18 minutes. He created his own shot better than ever before, hitting multiple attempts off the dribble. 

3. The Cats’ biggest playmakers struggled to find shots.

Kopp is NU’s go-to guy when they need a clutch shot from three-point range, but against Michigan he airballed shots in key moments and made critical errors in the paint. Spencer scored eight points early, but he couldn’t seem to replicate that success later on, and he in the past has been the leader of the team in tight situations.

Breakout freshman guard Boo Buie scored only six points all game, and despite making an acrobatic layup in the second half, it wasn’t enough to bring the Cats anywhere close to the Wolverines.

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