Chris Collins and company look to improve on a rough last couple of years in Evanston. They also lose their top three leading scorers in Vic Law Jr. (15.0 ppg), Dererk Pardon (14.0 ppg), and Ryan Taylor (9.8 ppg). However, a roster rebuild was in order as the Wildcats struggled to find consistent scoring throughout the season. Collins hopes to find some veteran leadership to fill those holes during this offseason, including the trip to Europe.
The Northwestern Wildcats played their most recent game against European squad Oleggio, winning a comfortable 89-37. Sophomore forward Miller Kopp continued his domination - he’s averaging 22 ppg this trip - as he scored another 21 points on Saturday on 53% shooting. Newcomer Pat Spencer may have the most interesting story in college basketball this year after passing up the No. 1 overall pick in the Premier Lacrosse League to play a year of college basketball with the Wildcats. So far, he has shown that his lacrosse ability has translated to the hardwood as he’s built on his strong trip, adding 10 points on Saturday, highlighted by a powerful dunk.
Leading returning scorer, A.J. Turner, has been sitting out for precautionary reasons but it will be important for him to add an extra couple moves to his repertoire as he becomes the focus of opponents’ defenses.
Turner came to Evanston after spending two years at Boston College. The guard averaged 8.7 ppg but struggled with efficiency, shooting only 39% from the field. However, the fact that Coach Collins has added another point guard and won’t rely on Turner to initiate the offense may help his efficiency.
Teams usually make these trips to build confidence and team chemistry, so the competition leaves something to be desired. Regardless, it’s good to see that you can put away the teams that you’re supposed to. The box score and some highlights appears below via the Northwestern Basketball official Twitter page.