David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The Northwestern Wildcats got a rare comfortable win thanks to a 21-point first half by Reggie Hearn, romping over Purdue in a game that wasn't as close as the 15-point scoreline.
Northwestern won comfortably behind an incredible performance by Reggie Hearn in a game against Purdue that gives some ill-advised hope for the rest of the season.
NU came out gunning: A.J. Hammons slept in and wasn't allowed to start by Matt Painter, and the rest of his team did too, as they trailed 12-0, 15-2, and 21-7. The Boilermakers were completely unprepared for the Princeton offense were drilling open threes - they were 8-of-12 in the first half, and were 6-of-7 at one point - and hitting Purdue with backdoor cuts when the three was guarded. Purdue showed a consistent desire to not fight through screens, and Northwestern made them pay.
The star was Reggie Hearn, who had 21 points in the first half on nine-of-ten shooting. NINE OF TEN! His career high previously was 23, and he obviously broke that. Just when I think the former walk-on has done his most incredible, likable thing yet, he tops himself. Awesome to see him be a fan favorite.
Anyway, after scoring 46 total points against Michigan and 49 against Nebraska, NU led 43-29 at the half.
At that point, they just needed to pace themselves, and they did. The lead got to 21 at one point, but Purdue answered with a seven-point possession thanks to like 42 offensive rebounds. But the threes kept falling, and NU held on for the win.
Props obviously go to Hearn, but also to Jared Swopshire - 13 and seven - Dave Sobolewski - 13, six and six - Tre Demps - chilled out with shot selection and had 12 points on seven shots - and Alex Olah, who had nine points, including two open jumpers, but really impressed with his passing, recording five assists. Michael Turner played maybe his best game as a Wildcat, by which I'm saying he had zero points and three fouls, but also four assists. The myth of bench depth is really ringing true, as four players combined for two points, although Alex Marcotullio had five boards and five assists.
Nice to get a rare comfortable win. The team takes a week off - we'll talk a lot about stuff before then.