By: Roger Wu
Vic Law is back, and better than ever.
The sophomore put up a career-high 26 points in his second game back after missing all of last season with a shoulder injury as Northwestern defeated Eastern Washington 86-72 on Monday night in a Legends Classic opening round game and improved to 2-0.
“Vic Law was sensational, made a lot of big plays.” Northwestern head coach Chris Collins said, “He played with great confidence. I like the way how he attacked the basket.”
Northwestern never trailed in the game, and Law went off early on, scoring 7 straight points early in the first half to give the Wildcats a 14-5 lead.
“I feel a lot more comfortable now being out there and just knock down open shots when they come.” Law said.
Northwestern held a double-digit lead for most of the first half, but Eastern Washington pulled within 6 right before halftime with 7 straight points from Mason Peatling. Bryant McIntosh threw a perfect bullet pass to a cutting Scottie Lindsey, who finished the play with a buzzer-beating layup, to give the Wildcats a 46-38 lead as they headed into the locker room.
“Scott is a great cutter. He cut backdoor and I was able to find him. He made a tough layup.” McIntosh, who scored 18 points to go along with 7 assists, said.
EWU’s Jacob Wiley scored 6 quick points to cut the deficit to 53-47 for the Eagles with 16:37 left in the second half, but Isiah Brown scored a beautiful reverse layup to extend Northwestern’s lead to 13 points, and the Wildcats didn’t look back.
Wiley scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half, but he fouled out with 4:34 left in the second half, ending the Eagles’ comeback bid.
Bogdan Bliznyuk led Eastern Washington with 25 points. He scored 20 of the team’s first 25 points before being silenced in the second half. Bliznyuk went 8 for 13 from the field in the first half, while the rest of the team combined to shoot 6 for 15.
“Bliznyuk was fantastic, especially in the first half. He just had great poise.” Collin said.
Even though freshman Isiah Brown scored 11 points, his second straight game putting up double figures, he was 3 for 10 from the field. It will be interesting to see if the native from Seattle, Washington can improve his shooting in future games.
Lindsey, who put up 12 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in 33 minutes, was an important part of Northwestern’s offense. Besides the backdoor cut he made in the final seconds of the first half, the junior also scored a tough pull-up jumper with 9:16 left in the second half to add to the Wildcats’ lead.
“I thought Scottie was really solid tonight.” Collin said, “He is a really good player. I am very confident that he can do the job for us and be that wing player we need.”
Northwestern plays its first road game against Butler on Wednesday.
“We are excited about it, and [we will] see what we can do on Wednesday night.” Collins said.
“We have a tough matchup. [I will] prepare [the guys] as best as I can,” McIntosh said.