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November 15, 2013

Rapid reaction: Stanford 71 NU 58



After opening with a home win, Northwestern could only put together one solid half on the road and fell to Stanford, 71-58.

Northwestern put up a good fight in the first half, but Drew Crawford went cold in the second, as the Cats shot just 39 percent for the game and turned the ball over 16 times.

Here are WildcatReport's reactions after Northwestern's first loss of the new season.


Did you see that? Crawford's early block, which made SportsCenter's Top 10 plays, wouldn't have been a bad choice at this spot, but he outdid himself shortly after. Eleven minutes in, the Wildcats swung the ball around the perimeter and Crawford hit Tre Demps, who put up the three. As he did that, Crawford immediately took off toward the hoop, snatched the soft bounce off the rim, and powered home the dunk with two hands. The flex and yell on his way back down the court wasn't half bad, either. Oh, and he did essentially the same thing in the second half after a JerShon Cobb missed three.


Offensive player of the game: JerShon Cobb. Early in the game, Cobb was essentially the only player who was effective at driving to the basket. No one else looked comfortable getting into the lane, , though foul trouble limited Cobb's minutes and Crawford carried the scoring load. In the second half, with Crawford struggling, he took it upon himself to be more of a scoring threat. As NU tried to make a comeback, he scored eight straight points, and he added a pull-up three a couple minutes later. Cobb finished with a game-high 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting.


Defensive player of the game: Sanjay Lumpkin. He was covering Stanford's star forward, Dwight Powell, for most of the game, and he did a solid job. Powell was frustrated into a nine-point performance after scoring a combined 45 points in his first two games of the season. Lumpkin bodied him up well in the post and also worked hard on the boards, where he grabbed seven rebounds. The redshirt freshman also looks like he might lead the team in tumbles to the floor, whether he's being knocked down while grabbing a rebound or diving for a loose ball. He struggled on the offensive end, but that doesn't take away from his effort on the defensive side of the ball.


Turning point: Any shot from Josh Huestis in the second half. The senior dropped 18 on the Wildcats a year ago, and he put them away once again. While the Cats tried to engineer several comebacks down the stretch, it was always Huestis who shut them down. He drilled several corner three-pointers to stop Northwestern runs, and his last dagger came after Cobb had scored eight straight for the Cats. On an out-of-bounds play, Huestis curled around a screen, caught the ball in the corner and nailed a long two-pointer to boost the Cardinal lead to 52-41. Northwestern wouldn't get it back to single digits for the rest of the game as Huestis led the Cardinal with 18 points.


Super sub: Nikola Cerina. While Tre Demps led the bench scoring effort with 10 points, nearly all of them came with the game already decided and he missed eight of his 11 shots. He struggled when the Cats needed him most. Conversely, Cerina stepped in for Alex Olah, who was struggling to guard Cardinal center Stefan Nastic, and provided energy on the defensive end. Cerina bodied Nastic up and helped keep him without a rebound for the entire game. He also added a layup and two rebounds of his own. Maybe "super" is a bit gracious, but he was the best Northwestern had off the unimpressive bench.


Stat of the game: Sixteen turnovers. It's not a ridiculously high number, but almost every one came as the result of a careless play. Several resulted from out-of-control drives and errant passes. Early in the second half, Lumpkin appeared to be falling over while driving along the baseline and attempted a crosscourt pass that sailed several rows into the stands. In other cases, weak passes were picked off and taken downcourt by the Cardinal. Most didn't come from great pressure defense, but rather from careless Northwestern possessions.



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