Thursday, November 8, 2018

Green's five takeaways from Northwestern's 82-52 win over New Orleans

Photo Credit: Geno Green

By: Geno Green
Twitter: @TheGenoGreen

On a chilly night outside, things were nice and cozy inside Welsh-Ryan Arena as the Northwestern Wildcats (1-0) notched their first win of the season on Thursday night. Here are my five takeaways from the Wildcats’ 82-52 win over the New Orleans Privateers (1-1).

1) Taking care of business:

Discipline can be a tough and rigid method to follow on any given night, but Northwestern stuck to its game plan and managed things on offense with nine turnovers, which Chris Collins saw as an underrated key to the win.

“At times, it looked disjointed, but we only had nine turnovers. We weren’t giving them the dreaded pick six turnovers, where it is live ball turnovers that lead to fast breaks,” Collins said. “We still took care of the ball and did not allow them to get out in transition.”

2) Mr. 1,000:

On a historic night with the first regular-season game at newly renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena, Vic Law achieved a memorable moment out of the gate. Law became the 36th Wildcat to score at least 1,000 points with a three-pointer at the 7:09 mark of the first half.

Law finished with 18 points on 6-of-12 from the field in 32 minutes, but viewed the performance more as a team effort.

“I will try and do my best. Whatever the team needs, I will try to do it on a high level,” Law said.

3) Points in the paint:

The Privateers managed to stay within reasonable distance thanks to their relentless presence to attack to the Wildcats’ interior defense. 18 of New Orleans’ 28 points in the first half came in the paint.

“They got us early with some cutting. They were running some nice offense and had some big bodies,” Collins said. “I thought they were playing hard by getting some putbacks on offense and are a power team. As the game went on, our guys made the adjustments and did a better job in the second half guarding the paint.”

4) The arrival of Taylor:

With Law and Dererk Pardon as the established players for Northwestern, Ryan Taylor, who made the first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference at Evansville last season, made his presence known with 18 of his game-high 20 points coming from long range.

With the game at 50-41, Taylor drained a triple from the top of the key thanks to timely screen from Pardon, to jump start a 10-0 run, which gave Northwestern some much needed breathing room and would not look back.

“Dererk made an effort to make sure that he screened my guy very well, so I got wide open and was able to make the shot,” Taylor said.

New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger credited Taylor’s effort to the Northwestern players making the little plays in order for the forward to shine.

“The team was unselfish and figured out [Ryan] had a hot hand and part of what will make them great in the rugged Big Ten is that they were smart tonight to help him get the ball, which is a good sign for them.” Slessinger said.

5) Vital signs shown in the second half:

Northwestern fell into some droughts on offense, highlighted by a 5:50 field goal drought to end the first half which kept New Orleans within eight points.

The low point for the Wildcats came with 11:38 left in regulation, as they were 13-of-42 (31 percent) from the field. Northwestern turned things around in the last 8:22 making 12 of its last 18 baskets.

Law thought the defensive effort played a critical role as the offense benefited.

“In the second half, we played a lot better defensively and the shots were there, but defensively is where we locked in and can hang our hats on,” Law said.