Coach Chris Collins, Northwestern – Opening Statement: “I was really pleased with how we responded. Yesterday we were disappointed. The way we came out, it felt like Fresno State really dictated that game on both ends and we wanted to change that today. I thought we had tremendous pop defensively to start the game. I thought for 37 minutes we did a great job against their pressure and their traps. Those games aren’t easy to play when teams are scattered and trapping everything for the whole game and force you to make basketball plays. I thought we got a little bit tired in the last few minutes of the game which led to some turnovers but overall I’m really pleased with the quick turnaround, playing against a scrappy LaSalle team, this was a good win for us.”
On team’s balance: “It’s a good group of guys. The bottom line is, sometimes you take a punch. In the course of the season, there’s a lot of good teams you play and it happens, yesterday we got knocked down by a really good team. You find out the character and the fight in your group by how you respond to those. It won’t be the last time it happens to us. I thought we really re-grouped, we got together and I felt we were going to play well today. I saw it in our guy’s eyes. I like the character and fight of this group. We have good leadership, our seniors have done a great job and I wasn’t surprised we were ready to play. It was great to get off to a really good start. We saw the ball go in early, we attacked the press and got a couple quick dunks. We hit some threes and (Ryan) Taylor got going which is huge for us.”
Coach Ashley Howard, La Salle – (On his team’s performance): ““Tough loss today versus a good Northwestern team. I give those guys all the credit, I think Chris really got those guys to respond after a difficult loss to Fresno [State] yesterday. They came out, they had some pop, they played like a veteran team like they are. They made shots and they took advantage of their size. They dominated the offensive glass today and I felt like that was the difference in the game.”
(On his team’s defensive effort in the 2nd half): ““I felt we battled the entire game. I felt we had lapses where we got fatigued because we were playing so hard, playing with a frenetic pace. We had to make substitutions and bring some guys in that were bringing some better energy. Then, in the last seven minutes it was right there for us. We were trying to get it to single digits and I think our guys felt if we could just get a turnover and get a quick bucket, it would turn things around. Our guys never stopped believing, our guys battled to the end and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
(On what his team can tune up going to Sunday): “I think the biggest thing is just continuing to reinforce to our guards the importance of getting in there and mixing it up. I felt Pookie Powell did a great job on the glass today. I think one of the things that contributed to Northwestern dominating us on the glass was Jared Kimbrough got two fouls early in the game and I sat him in the first half. So not having Jared out there was a key component to their dominance on the glass.”
- Northwestern never trailed in the game (although there was one tie at 5-5), marking the first wire-to-wire victory in this year’s Wooden Legacy.
- The 17-point win marked the biggest margin of victory in a day 2 game in this tournament since 2014… Last year all four games on the second day were decided by seven points or less.
- Northwestern is playing in its second ESPN event (4-1 record in those, with one title).
- Northwestern scored 91 points, its highest output since scoring 95 vs. Brown on 12/30/17.
- Northwestern began the game by making 12 of its first 16 shots (.750), but from there shot just 12-34 (.353).
- Three Wildcats scored at least 20 points, something that hasn’t happened since at least before the 2010-11 season… Entering today, Northwestern had just two instances of a player scoring 20+ points this year.
- Ryan Taylor tied for the team lead in scoring with 21 points, his 27th game with at least 20 points (NU is 18-9 when that happens)… Taylor also dished out five assists, tying his career high (third time doing that).
- Vic Law scored 21 points as NU improved to 6-2 when he scores at least 20 points.
- J. Turner scored a career high 20 points, with this being the 25th time in his career he has had 10+ points.
La Salle (0-6)
- La Salle is playing in its second ESPN event (2-3 record in those).
- La Salle has begun a season 0-6 for the first time since the 1995-96 campaign, when the Explorers also started 0-6.
- La Salle has now allowed at least 75 points in all six games this season… The last time the Explorers allowed six consecutive opponents within the same season to score at least 75 points was in Dec. 2010.
- With La Salle being outrebounded by 14 today, this marked the fourth time this season the Explorers have been outrebounded by at least 10 this season.
- Pookie Powell led La Salle in scoring with 23 points, the 16th time eclipsing 20 points (La Salle is 4-12 in those games).
- Isiah Deas entered the tournament as the second leading scorer for La Salle (15.5 ppg), but scored four points yesterday and five today.