Kopp, Law lead Northwestern rout of Chicago State, 88-46
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Coming off an extended break, Northwestern struggled through an uneven first few minutes on Monday night. Freshman Miller Kopp helped make sure the issues didn’t last.
Kopp scored a career-high 17 points and Vic Law added another 17 as the Wildcats defeated Chicago State 88-46.
“I think just at the beginning of the game, my teammates just found me in the right spots,” Kopp said. “We pushed tempo, and it got them in some tough positions and got me open.”
Northwestern (8-3) methodically built its lead and separated with a 13-4 run to end the first half. The Wildcats knocked off their rust, as they hadn’t played since Dec. 8 due to final exams.
Chicago State (3-10) hung around early but couldn’t overcome 18 turnovers, as it trailed 44-27 at the half. Northwestern took advantage with 24 points off turnovers and only gave the ball away eight times.
“Every time you come off exam break, it’s kind of the same story,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. ”. I thought it took us most of the first half to kind of get back in the swing of things, but overall, I thought our guys approached the game well.”
Northwestern kept the ball moving throughout, finishing with 23 assists on 33 field goals. The Wildcats knocked down 13 of 34 3-pointers, led by Ryan Taylor’s 3 of 8 from beyond the arc. Big man Barret Benson even joined in, draining his first career 3.
“When I see 23 assists and 33 field goals, it means we’re playing together,” Collins said. “We’re playing unselfishly. Guys are sharing it, and everybody who played in the game had an assist. So to me, that’s a cool stat, because it means that we really played as a team, which is important to us.”
Travon Bell led Chicago State with 12 points, while Rob Shaw and Anthony Harris added 11 apiece. Only five Cougars scored, however, as the visitors shot 31.3 percent from the field.
“We missed some layups,” Chicago State coach Lance Irvin said. ”... You can’t turn the ball over and give a team 24 points (off turnovers). So that was huge.”
Dererk Pardon asserted his will in the paint with 13 points and seven rebounds, and the Wildcats shot 50.8 percent from the field overall. Law scored in double digits for the 11th straight game and added four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Chicago State: The Cougars have lost two games in a row after posting their first three-game win streak since March 9-16, 2013.
Northwestern: The Wildcats won their second straight game against a Chicago opponent. Northwestern defeated DePaul last time out on Dec. 8.
Law woke up the crowd early in the second half with a chase-down block on Harris, pinning the ball against the backboard to deny a fast-break layup.
HE SAID IT
According to Collins, Pardon and Benson both have “the green light” to shoot 3-pointers even though they had combined for seven career attempts entering Monday.
“Those guys practice that shot all the time,” Collins said. “Both (Benson) and Dererk, I’ve told those guys, if they’re open, if the guys aren’t playing on, shoot it. You’ve got to know time and score, and you’ve got to know when maybe is the right time to shoot it, but he took it with confidence.”
Chicago State: Visits Western Illinois on Thursday in search of its first road win of the season in its 10th try.
Northwestern: Hosts Oklahoma on Friday in its biggest challenge remaining before Big Ten play resumes.