St. Peter’s vs No.19 Northwestern Preview and Prediction
Preseason rankings are uncommon for the Northwestern Wildcats, but that’s where they found themselves when they opened up the season ranked 19th in the nation against Loyola (Md.) Northwestern narrowly avoided an upset Friday in its inaugural game in Allstate Arena, edging Loyola (Md.) 79-75 behind Scottie Lindsey’s 26 points. The Wildcats had a 13-point lead at halftime against Loyola and led by as many as 17, but struggled to close the game out in the face of the Greyhounds’ hot shooting.
That was the Wildcats first game in their temporary arena, Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., which is also home to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL and the Chicago Sky of the WNBA.
The Welsh-Ryan Arena, the usual home for the Wildcats basketball team is undergoing a $110 million renovation project–the project is scheduled for completion ahead of the 2018-19 season.
“We tried our best to simulate it, but it’s definitely new,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said of the new home environment. “This is our home. We’re going to make it our home. But these first couple of games are going to be important for us to kind of get into a routine of how we approach the day and get ourselves ready to go.”
Lindsey, a unanimous preseason All-Big Ten selection, thanked the students who attended the season opener at the Arena, which is about a 30-minute drive from Northwestern’s campus.
“Allstate is great,” Lindsey said. “It felt really good playing out there. Our students showing up, I thought that was really great. I’m looking forward to playing here for the rest of the year.”
St. Peter’s on the other hand is trying to bounce-back from a blowout loss at the hands of LaSalle, who beat the Peacocks 61-40 on Saturday. That loss marked the lowest scoring total for St. Peter’s since a 61-38 loss to Fairfield on Feb. 15, 2012.
“We feel really good that these guys know how to put the physical and the mental work into it,” St. Peter’s coach John Dunne said. “We’re not going to have as much on-court experience this year as we had last year, but if the returning guys do their part and show great leadership in their preparation and show our young, talented guys what it takes, we feel pretty good we’re going to put a good product on the floor.”
The Peacocks shot just 30 percent from the field and relied heavily on the 3-point shot, which accounted for nearly half of their made field goals, but had no players in double figures.
“The leadership roles this year need to come from a lot of different guys,” Dunne said. “I think Nick Griffin, first and foremost, is a guy that has leadership qualities. Cam Jones, who redshirted last year, but he can be a vocal guy.”
It is possible the Peacocks could get hot from beyond the arc and make this game a battle–but in all likelihood, Chris Collins’ team will play in-your-face defense and put the pressure on the Peacocks all night. If that’s the case, the 40 points St. Peter’s put up against LaSalle could continue to be their season high.
Score: Northwestern 68 St. Peter’s 45
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