Skelly, Northwestern roll over IUPUI 87-65
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Usually reliant on a high-powered and efficient backcourt, the Northwestern Wildcats took a different approach in their penultimate non-conference game.
They looked inside.
Northwestern (10-2) enjoyed a dominant effort from its big men on both ends of the court Tuesday night in an easy 87-65 victory over IUPUI. It was the Wildcats seventh straight win.
''We used to play not to lose,'' forward Gavin Skelly said. ''Now we play to win. We just keep getting better.''
Led by Skelly, the Wildcats' interior stifled IUPUI (5-8) from start to finish, winning the rebound battle 47-37 while recording 12 blocks. Northwestern never trailed in the contest, despite receiving just three points from guard Vic Law, who averaged a team-high 14.9 points per game.
Skelly had a career-high six blocks, including the 50th of his Northwestern career, and Barret Benson had five, also a career-best. The Wildcats entered the contest ranked among the top ten nationwide at 6.5 blocks per game.
A balanced scoring effort paced the Northwestern offense. Skelly again led the way with 19 points as six players scored in double figures. Scottie Lindsey, who had 11, has scored at least 10 in all 12 games this season.
Skelly also grabbed 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
''It doesn't surprise me,'' Northwestern coach Chris Collins said of Skelly's performance. ''The energy, the production-our guys love playing with him because it's infectious.''
IUPUI shot just 35.8 percent from the field, their lowest mark of the campaign. The Jaguars shot better than 60 percent while scoring more than 100 points in each of their last two games.
''Northwestern did a great job flying all over the court, they did a great job packing it in, and their rotations were pretty good,'' IUPUI coach Jason Gardner said. ''I do think, though, that we had some open looks. We just didn't make shots.''
Matt O'Leary led the way for the Jaguars with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Evan Hall contributed eight boards.
Sanjay Lumpkin had 13 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double and third this season, and Bryant McIntosh had 9 assists.
UNDER THE WEATHER
Law posted his worst offensive performance of the season Tuesday, but according to Collins, the redshirt sophomore had a good excuse-he was sick. Law has scored only nine points over the last two games.
IUPUI: The Jaguars failed to edge out any of their three Big Ten opponents, losing to both Illinois and Michigan prior to Tuesday's defeat. But a return home on Dec. 28, where they have won four straight dating back to last season, could provide a momentum boost heading into Summit League conference play on Dec. 31.
NORTHWESTERN: Only one stop remains before the conference season commences. The Wildcats next game-Thursday against Houston Baptist-will be their last before they begin Big Ten play Dec. 27 at Penn State. Northwestern has enjoyed an impressive start to the season that includes a perfect 8-0 home record and just two losses, both to now-ranked opponents (No. 13 Butler and No. 25 Notre Dame).
IUPUI: The Jaguars host Marian on Dec. 28.
NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats welcome Houston Baptist to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Thursday.