“Our toughness was not there,” Northwestern coach Jim Gish said. “We didn’t finish around the rim. We counted somewhere between 16 and 22 layups that we missed. Turnovers  hurt and just the toughness [aspect] of the game [hurt], where we didn’t step up and take charges like we should, we didn’t keep people in front of us like we should.”
Northwestern routinely uses 10 or more players in a half. The Tigers played 11 in the first quarter, and early in the third Gish sent a full wave of five subs in to replace the starting unit.
“We still finished the first quarter up 13-8, but our starters weren’t giving us anything, so the second group really did spark us,” Gish said, noting sparks from Logan Macaluso and Evan Matlock in the first quarter.
Western’s offense worked well. Driving guards Balentine and Warden forced the action, scoring 21 and 17 respectively. Zach Shahan made himself open inside for 14 points and Townsend added 11.
“Second quarter we started getting more movement, more ball movement, sharing the ball. That’s where Shahan started getting some open looks,” Miller said. “Zach was doing exactly what he’s supposed to, taking that dive into the block area [when his defender was drawn away] and getting some open looks for us.”
Shahan led Western with nine rebounds. Northwestern reserve Tyler Hudson had a game-high 11. Matlock and Hudson each scored nine points to lead Northwestern.