Northwestern Surges Past Gardner-Webb Behind Career-Highs from Alex Olah

This article was originally written for and published by North By Northwestern, a Northwestern University student publication.

Photo: AP/Paul Beaty
Photo: AP/Paul Beaty

Less than a week after an impressive blowout on the road against UIC, Northwestern (4-2) had its second consecutive ugly outing at home. The Wildcats, who needed late heroics from JerShon Cobb to beat IUPUI on Friday, used a second-half surge to defeat Gardner-Webb (2-4) on Monday, 72-59.

“I’m really excited about this win,” Northwestern head coach Chris Collins said. “Gardner-Webb is a team where you look at their history and they have beat and lost at the buzzer to high-major teams.”

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Other notes from Northwestern vs. Gardner-Webb:

—Chris Collins on Sanjay Lumpkin’s flagrant-2 foul: “I was disappointed with Sanjay. That’s a teachable moment for us. I love Sanjay—he’s a tremendous young player. He’ll learn from it and he’ll bounce back, but obviously that was a disappointing play at that time of the game.”

—Drew Crawford on Lumpkin’s flagrant-2 foul: “That was a tough play for Sanjay. He’s just a freshman in basketball years. That’s something he’s got to learn from. In the past, I’ve been kicked out of a game, so I’m kind of trying to help him along to move on from it and learn from it.”

—Collins on running the offense through Alex Olah and the post: “This was the best job we’ve done of getting him the ball that consistently. We’re always on our guys, if Alex has a man behind him in the post, we always want him to touch the ball. Alex is a good passer too. If they start doubling or giving help, we’ll have easier three-point shots. There’s no question posting is part of that equation. If you watch us play, we post Drew and JerShon a lot also. We’ve got to constantly find ways to get the ball into the paint.”

—Collins on parity in college basketball: “In college basketball, you can forget about the lesser names and the big names. You go down the list of teams that have gotten beat or almost gotten beat, and you say to yourself, “Man, how does that happen?” It’s a different time in college basketball. You have to show up every night. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing or where you’re playing. People have good players, and if you’re not ready to play you will lose no matter who you’re playing. That’s why we have to have a mindset of showing up every night and being ready to play.”

—Collins on JerShon Cobb: “He’s such a free spirit. No matter what’s going on in the game he’s always light-hearted. He’s always telling me to wipe my face so I get the sweat off in the tightest times of the game. That’s who he is. We’ve got to continue to sharpen him up. He’s been off for the year. … But you still see times where [there is] a loose play here or a loose play there. He just has to understand that a game can change like that (snaps his fingers). You throw the ball away or you let a guy get behind you and lay the ball in the basket. A team gets momentum, and it doesn’t take much. You might think it’s only one play, but it really gets a team started.”

—Collins on Northwestern’s next game against Missouri: “I know they’re really good. They have some really good players. They have some transfers that are probably pro-caliber guys. They’re going to be bigger than us and athletic.”

Author: Jesse Kramer

Jesse Kramer is the founder of The Catch and Shoot. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He has had work featured on, College Insider, The Comeback/Awful Announcing, and 247Sports.

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