Northwestern 79, Utah 57 – Post-game quotes & Wooden chips

Coach Chris Collins, Northwestern – (On his team’s performance): “I was really proud of my team today. These are big game, when you come to these tournaments you want to win the championship. When you lose the first game, your focus then becomes trying to get out of here with a winning record. We were able to play really well against LaSalle on Friday. It was a quick turnaround, third game in four days. I have so much respect for Coach [Larry] Krystkowiak and the program they run, they’re so well coached, well-schooled. To be able to defend them the way we did. I was really proud. We forced 21 turnovers, did a great job on [Sedrick] Barefield. In the 2nd half our offensive execution was really good, we made some shots and got the ball where we wanted to get it. I was really proud of my team today.”

(On an early season win): “It’s big early in the year, these are games and you come into these events. We’ve got an ACC Challenge coming up and we have some other nine key non-conference games and you want to try and build your resume. I always tell our guys “Everyone always wants to do something in March” but, a lot of times you don’t realize that the games you have in November can help you get to that point.”

(On his new personnel’s defensive performance): “Our defense has got to be our calling card. I think we have very good length. We have big guards and big wings. We also have an active big man in [Dererk] Pardon. I think we can be a team with deflections that can cause some turnovers and we did that at a very high level today. We forced that team into 21 turnovers, they don’t normally do that because they are so well coached, and they run their stuff well. It shows how active we were.”

Coach Larry Krystkowiak, Utah – Opening Statement: “I thought it was definitely a much more physical game on their side. They took us out of cuts. I didn’t think we were playing very hard on offense in the first half. Thirteen turnovers and yet we were only down four, it was encouraging. I think for us it’s the importance of having five guys on the floor that are all connected, and it seems like at this point, we just aren’t getting enough consistency. There’s one breakdown and you’re only going to be as strong as your weakest link. Inability to handle pressure, wrong coverage, we just have to make some plays. We’re putting ourselves in too high of a risk category because it seems like we have a number of cases where there’s a guy that isn’t doing his job and it hurts us collectively. Those things added up today. Number of shots is key, and I think we just shot ourselves in the foot with the number of turnovers we had. We just almost 50%, it wasn’t glaring that way, but we just didn’t get enough shots. We have to get back to Utah, back to the drawing board and we have a lot of work to do as a coaching staff to make some improvement and we look forward to that process.”

Wooden Chips

  • The 22-point win marked the third biggest margin of victory on a Sunday in the Wooden Legacy, and the largest since 2008… last year the four games on Sunday were decided by a combined total of just 23 points.
  • Northwestern tied the all-time series with two wins each.
  • Neither of these two teams have been in a close game this year… all six of Northwestern games have been decided by margins of 12 or more, while the closest Utah games were decided by nine points.
  • Northwestern scored 51 points in the second half, tying for the most points in a half in this year’s Wooden Legacy (along with Hawai’i in the second half of its game against Utah).

Northwestern (5-1)

  • Northwestern is playing in its second ESPN event (5-1 record in those, with one title).
  • Northwestern began the game by making 10 of its first 28 shots (.357), but from there shot 17-25 (.680).
  • Vic Law led the Wildcats with 19 points, with 14 coming after halftime… In this event he has scored 39 of his 53 points after the intermission.
  • Dererk Pardon scored 15 points, his seventh straight game with at least 10 points… He was a perfect 5-5 FG, his second-most makes without a miss in his career (went 8-8 at Wisconsin on 2/1/18)… For the tournament Pardon shot 12-14 (.857) FG.
  • Ryan Taylor scored 14 points, the fourth time in six games with NU that he has reached double digits.
  • Anthony Gaines came off the bench to score 11 points, his fifth career game with at least 10 points… Gaines had scored a total of 12 points in his previous four games combined… The 11 points ties his career high (done twice previously).

Utah (3-3)

  • Utah is playing in its fourth ESPN event (5-7 record in those).
  • Utah tied a Wooden Legacy record (with several teams) by not recording a single block.
  • This was just the third time in the past three seasons that Utah has been held to 57 or fewer points.
  • Sedrick Barefield scored 15 points, and was the only Ute in double digits…This marked his 15th career game with 15+ points.
  • Donnie Tillman was held to just six points… In the first three halves of competition in Anaheim he scored a total of 27 points, but then managed just nine in his last three halves of play.