You can have trouble scoring and still compete in plenty of Big Ten basketball games. But against this Indiana team, struggling to produce points is just not an option.
Northwestern found that out the hard way Saturday, getting hammered in an 89-57 rout in Bloomington, as Indiana won its 12th straight game and stayed undefeated in Big Ten play.
The Cats got practically zero production from all but two players. Seniors Tre Demps and Alex Olah played well and combined for 36 points, but that meant just 21 points combined by their teammates.
And with the Hoosiers putting on their usual offensive show, this one was no contest. Indiana shot 52.6 percent from the field, hitting 13 3-pointers, their 12th game of the season with double-digit triples.
The Hoosiers dictated what kind of game it would be from the jump, scoring the game's first 10 points and holding a 13-2 lead early on. The Cats trimmed that down to four, but things got out of hand in a hurry. The Indiana lead was again double digits with nine and a half minutes remaining till halftime, and after Bryant McIntosh became the first player not named Demps or Olah to score a point for Northwestern with under five minutes before the break, Indiana sprinted away with a 13-4 run to close out the opening 20 minutes. Demps and Olah had all but two of the Cats' first-half points, Demps going to halftime with 14 and Olah with 10. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers shot a sizzling 53.8 percent from the field in the opening period.
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Things did not improve in the second half for Northwestern. The Cats found slightly more scoring, getting 31 points over the final 20 minutes on 52-percent shooting. Demps had just three points after halftime, but Dererk Pardon provided some positives, accounting for nine points, all but one coming in about a three-minute span in the second half. But Indiana's onslaught continued. The Hoosiers scored 46 points in the second half on 51.6-percent shooting. Five different Indiana players hit at least one 3-pointer in the second half, and the game ended with the biggest lead of the afternoon at 32.
The Hoosiers had three players score in double figures. Yogi Ferrell led the way with 17 points, Max Bielfeldt finished with 13 and Collin Hartman had 11. Seven different players hit at least one 3, the team finishing with 13.
Olah was the high man for the Cats with 19 points in his best scoring performance since before he sat out six straight games with a foot injury. Demps finished with 17 points.
Indiana improved to 17-3 overall and 7-0 in conference play with the win. It's the Hoosiers' first 7-0 start to a Big Ten season in more than 20 years. Next up is a Tuesday trip to Wisconsin.
Northwestern dropped its third straight game and lost for the fifth time in the last seven games. The Cats are now halfway through a brutal stretch of games against Maryland, Indiana, Michigan State and Iowa — four ranked opponents. At 15-6 overall and 3-5 in league play, they'll play hosts to the Spartans on Thursday.