EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Northwestern turned to its most seasoned players in an 82-52 win over New Orleans on Thursday night.
Victor Law had 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. The redshirt senior, who was a key part of Northwestern’s run to the NCAA tournament in 2017, passed 1,000 career points early in the game, becoming the 36th player in program history to top the plateau.
Ryan Taylor, a graduate transfer from Evansville, added 20 points, including six 3-pointers.
Law’s known for his defensive prowess, but he showed off his versatility against the Privateers.
“His whole career, since we recruited Vic, I’ve always saw him as a jack-of-all-trades guy,” said Northwestern coach Chris Collins. “When he’s at his best, he’s impacting the game in every way, with defense, with rebounding, with playmaking, with shooting, with activity. I thought he showed that tonight.”
Law acknowledged after the game he knew he was close to the milestone as his final season as a Wildcat started.
“Do you want me to lie to you or do you want me to tell you the truth?” Law asked reporters. “I knew! I wasn’t going for it. I knew I was close. I knew if I played my normal game, if I played aggressive, everything would work itself out.”
“The team was unselfish. They figured out he had a hot hand, and I think what will make them a good team in this rugged Big Ten is that they were smart enough in game one to figure out he had a hot hand and get him the ball,” said New Orleans coach Mark Slessinger.
Taylor is one of two transfers on Northwestern’s team. With four freshmen on the roster, the Wildcats (1-0) are still trying to figure some things out.
“It took a while to get used to the offense. There’s still things I struggle with. From the basketball standpoint, it’s been a struggle,” Taylor said.
Gerrale Gates led New Orleans (1-1) with 10 points.
Northwestern opened a newly remodeled Welsh-Ryan Arena on the school’s Evanston campus last Friday in an exhibition win over McKendree. The Wildcats have now christened the new court with a win in its season opener after spending a season playing at Allstate Arena, 14 miles away from campus.
HE SAID IT: “All my guys have green lights. I’m a fun guy to play for when it comes to that. You’re not going to get yelled at for shooting the ball. I might get on you for lack of effort or not being a good teammate, or not being locked in to some of our game plan stuff, but I was a gunslinger when I played, and I want our guys to shoot freely. I want them to take their shots and be cocky, and all of them have a green light in that regard,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins.
Northwestern started the season unranked, but with its highest-ranked recruiting class in school history. They play Georgia Tech on November 28 before starting Big 10 play at Indiana on Dec. 1. New Orleans has experienced both ends of the basketball pendulum in one week, beating Spring Hill 95-66 on Tuesday before losing to Northwestern by 30 points.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Wildcats scored 22 points off 15 Privateers turnovers.
Northwestern: Faces American and Binghamton at home next week
New Orleans: Plays Pensacola Christian at home before traveling to UAB
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