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January 18, 2014

Cats shock Hoosiers at Assembly Hall

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.-Who saw that coming?

It's been quite the week for Northwestern basketball, which beat Illinois at home and held its own against Michigan State for much of that game.

But a win in Assembly Hall is another story entirely. Northwestern's 54-47 win was only its second win on the road against Indiana in history.

As the Cats head into a home matchup against Purdue with a 2-4 Big Ten record, here are WildcatReport's rapid reactions:


Did you see that? Kale Abrahamson's big three. Indiana's Austin Etherington had just grabbed an offensive rebound off a free throw, scored and gotten fouled to tie the game up at 19 with just over a minute left in the first half. After the free throw, Tre Demps took the inbounds pass, raced up the right side of the court, drove the baseline and hit Abrahamson in the opposite corner. Abrahamson drilled the three and gave Northwestern a 22-19 lead going into the half.

Offensive player of the game: Demps. After a pretty quiet first half and beginning to the second, Demps went off on the Hoosiers when it mattered most. He did it on three-pointers, off-balance jumpers and tough, contested layups. When all was said and done, he had 15 points and two assists. He may be just a sophomore, but Demps seems to have cemented himself as the go-to-guy late in games.

Defensive player of the game:Alex Olah. He didn't have the greatest day on the offensive end - he scored eight points on 2-for-9 shooting - but the seven-footer came up big in other areas. He attacked the glass like a menace, finishing with eight boards and six blocks. He also held his ground in the post while guarding Indiana's impressive freshman, Noah Vonleh. Vonleh put up numbers, but he shot just 5-for-15 in the process. And even while Olah struggled to put the ball in the basket, his presence as a low-post threat opened up shooters on the wings.

Turning point: Demps goes off. There's no specific "point" here, but when Demps got going late in the game, it was over. He scored 13 straight points for Northwestern and turned what looked like a reeling Wildcat squad into victors. His barrage started with a top-of-the-key three, continued with a couple of tough jumpers, and finished with a free throw. NU used to be plagued by its inability to finish games, but if his recent performances weren't flukes, then this may not be the case any longer.

Atmosphere: It was the normal raucous atmosphere that Indiana fans expect, but it was quite an experience for an outsider. Assembly Hall was rocking, and its fans were going nuts over anything and everything, including "The Firecrackers" jumping rope at halftime. In short, it was everything to love about college basketball. And while there were very few NU fans in the crowd, the small group included former Cat Jared Swopshire and future Cat Bryant McIntosh.

Key stat: 47 points. It was the lowest scoring total of the season for Indiana, which was five points fewer than the 52 they put up against Syracuse. The Hoosiers shot a putrid 25 percent (15-for-60) from the floor and had a really tough time getting anything going on offense. Chris Collins wants Northwestern to be a scrappy, hard-working team, and this game certainly didn't hurt that effort.

Unsung hero:Drew Crawford. The senior had been slumping in a big way, and he did exactly what he needed to do to end his rough stretch: He attacked the rack. Of his 15 shots on the day, only two came from beyond the arc. He was lighting it up to start the second half, and all the runners, layups and hook shots that he had been missing suddenly started going in.



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