Preseason exhibition games aren’t worth anything when it comes to a team’s record, but they’re not useless. Far from it, as a matter of fact.
Northwestern played an exhibition contest against Quincy on Thursday night in Evanston, and while the 80-64 score was of little consequence, Chris Collins and his team will take plenty of lessons from the game.
“I thought tonight was an excellent exhibition game for us,” Collins said. “I thought it was really good to play that team because we saw some of the things we do really well, and we were exposed a little bit on the things we’ve got to get better at, which was good on both ends.
“Overall, it’s good to win, it’s good to get out there. We’ll have a great film to watch and see where we need to improve. We’ve got eight days till next Friday when this thing tips off for real.”
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It was the first action in purple and white for the Cats’ newcomers, and it was two of those newcomers — freshman Aaron Falzon and graduate transfer Joey van Zegeren — who perhaps had the most impressive nights. Falzon scored a team-high 15 points and went 4-for-5 from behind the 3-point arc. And the Virginia Tech import van Zegeren scored eight points, hauled in a team-high 10 rebounds and blocked a pair of shots.
“Just his size is a difference-maker for us,” Collins said of van Zegeren. “I think you guys see his activity around the basket, being able to alter shots, block some shots. finish at the rim. To be able to bring him off the bench and sub Alex (Olah), it’s just a dimension we haven’t had. I thought he played well, and I think he’ll play a lot better the more he settles in.
“And Aaron, for the first time putting on a uniform to come out and get 15 points in 13 minutes, that’s pretty darn good. He can shoot the leather off the ball. It puts a lot of pressure on defenses when you have a guy like that who can put it in the basket. He’s a big part of what we’re going to do going forward, so it was great to see him go out there and have some success.”
Behind Falzon, veterans Tre Demps and Olah scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, and Vic Law made it four Cats in double figures with 10 points. Van Zegeren was the lone Northwestern player in double figures in rebounding, but Scottie Lindsey had a solid night across the statistical spectrum with nine points, seven rebounds, two assists, a block, a steal and three made 3-pointers. Demps added six assists and five rebounds to his 13 points.
The Cats open the regular season on Nov. 13 against UMass Lowell.