The Wildcats cruised their way to a warm-up exhibition win against the visiting Prairie Stars from Illinois Springfield. Some notes from the preseason win:
• Gavin Skelly was the first big off the bench, and it looks like he could be in for a bigger role this year. He looked smooth running the floor, and showed that he could be a valuable rim protector on the defensive end. On offense, he showed off some nice post moves and fit smoothly into the rhythm of the offense. He finished with six points and four rebounds in 18 minutes.
• The ‘Cats also saw big minutes from freshman guard Isiah Brown in his first game and he started with a bang, going 7-11 from the field and dropping 18 points. He looked confident in a playmaking role, and showed off his impressive ability to get to the rim. He could give sophomore Jordan Ash some serious competition for the backup point guard minutes this season, and could see some time alongside McIntosh in the backcourt.
• Forward Vic Law saw his first action in over a year after missing all of last season with a shoulder injury. He struggled from the field, going just 4-11, but he showed off his athleticism with a nice steal and dunk in transition. His jump shot looked a little rusty though, as he went just 2-6 from three-point range.
• Guard Scottie Lindsey looks much improved, and he’ll have a much bigger role to play with the departure of Tre Demps. Lindsey showed a consistent ability to hit outside shots, while looking comfortable enough in a playmaking role. There are still some questions surrounding his defense, but Illinois Springfield didn’t challenge him too much in this one.
• The ‘Cats ran out a staring five of McIntosh, Lindsey, Lumpkin, Law and Pardon, leaving last year’s staring forward Aaron Falzon as the sixth man. Since Falzon is an offense-first player, this could be a strategically beneficial move for Northwestern, getting some valuable shooting off the bench.
• Freshman center Barret Benson saw some sporadic minutes and struggled to find his groove. In 15 minutes he had two points on 1-3 shooting.
• Freshman Tino Malnati and Sophomore Charlie Hall were the only players on the roster who did not score. Hall played the last 90 seconds, and Malnati did not play.
The ‘Cats will host Mississippi Valley State in their first regular season game of the year next Friday.