Northwestern beats Sacred Heart 103-67 for 8th straight win
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Once Northwestern's shooters found their touch, there was just no stopping them.
Alex Olah scored 21 points, Tre Demps added 17, and the Wildcats pulled away from Sacred Heart 103-67 on Monday night for their eighth straight win.
Scottie Lindsey and Nathan Taphorn each added 11 points as Northwestern (11-1) set a season high for scoring by shooting 61 percent (36 for 59) from the floor. That included going 15 for 29 from 3-point range - 10 of 17 in the second half.
''We know we've got the offense,'' Olah said. ''We have weapons all over the court.
''If you stop one guy, there will be another guy who can shoot and make the basket.''
Olah became the 33rd player in Northwestern history to record more than 1,000 points in his career. He entered with 996.
But the best stat for Northwestern coach Chris Collins might have been how his team handled the ball in this one. The Wildcats committed only 10 turnovers and had 30 assists on their 36 made baskets.
''Offensively, I loved the way we shared the ball,'' Collins said. ''I think at least all nine of our guys (who played) scored at least seven points, which shows a collective effort.''
Cane Broome had a game-high 26 points and Quincy McKnight added 15 for Sacred Heart (1-9), which dropped its ninth straight following a season-opening win over Quinnipiac. The Pioneers shot 40 percent (22 of 55).
''You've got to tip your hat to them,'' Sacred Heart coach Anthony Latina said. ''That could be one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country.''
Northwestern suffered its lone loss to current-No. 7 North Carolina on Nov. 23. Coming off a 78-70 overtime win over crosstown rival DePaul on Saturday, the Wildcats took charge of this one late in the first half, then blew it open with a 23-5 run in the second.
Northwestern led 48-32 at the half and trailed only once in the opening 20 minutes at 4-2.
Both teams went cold from floor during a scoring lull midway through the opening half, but Northwestern pulled out of it and went ahead. Sacred Heart had a dry spell of just over four minutes, while Northwestern got back on track and outscored the Pioneers 16-2 in one run.
Northwestern ended up outshooting Sacred Heart 55.6 to 39.3 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.
Olah was a force from underneath in the first half, connecting for 15 points and pulling in four of his five rebounds.
Northwestern outscored Sacred Heart 55-35 in the final 20 minutes.
Demps picked up his shooting in the second half and hit 4 of 8 3-pointers for the game. Lindsey and Taphorn also joined Northwestern's 21 for 32 (65.6 percent) second-half shooting party as the Wildcats turned the game into a rout.
Northwestern: The win gave Northwestern its best 12-game start since the 1982-83 season when the Wildcats began 11-1. ... The Wildcats' previous scoring high this season was 90 points, versus New Orleans on Nov. 28.
Sacred Heart: The Pioneers not only met the Wildcats for the first time, it was their first game against a team from Illinois.
Northwestern last scored 103 points in a 103-94 double-overtime win over Dartmouth on Dec. 29, 1991.
A pair of brothers squared off in this one. Sacred Heart senior Tevin Falzon and Northwestern freshman Aaron Falzon both started. They're from Newton, Mass. and their family was on hand to watch.
''To see both their boys play, I'm sure it was a real special moment for the family,'' Collins said.
According to Collins, the game with Sacred Heart was scheduled after Aaron committed to the Wildcats and Sacred Heart Deputy of Athletics Brad Hurlbut - who used to work at Northwestern - reached out.
When asked if reaching 1,000 points was a milestone for him, Olah said, ''I'm from Romania. I don't really know if it's a big deal, but if they say, of course, it's a big accomplishment.''
Sacred Heart plays at Hofstra on Dec. 28.
Northwestern hosts Loyola (Md.) on Sunday.