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Cold-shooting Northwestern fall at home to mid-major foe

Northwestern's Dave Sobolewski right  dribbles against Illinois State's Paris Lee second half an NCAA college basketball game EvanstIll. Sunday

Northwestern's Dave Sobolewski, right, dribbles against Illinois State's Paris Lee in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Ill., on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)

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Updated: November 18, 2013 12:03AM



Pick any cliché about ­patience that fits your fancy. A basketball revolution might be coming to Northwestern, but it’s unfair to coach Chris Collins to expect it to arrive this season.

A 68-64 home-court loss to ­Illinois State on Sunday night made it apparent that until players Collins has recruited get to Evanston, this year will look much like the previous torturous seasons the program has endured.

The Wildcats (1-2) were offensively anemic until the final minutes and went into halftime down by 18. They made it a two-point game in the waning seconds but lost to a team that is expected to finish in the bottom half of the Missouri Valley Conference. Big Ten foes will be less forgiving.

The Redbirds (1-2) had high flyers who can make a coach such as Collins jealous. Forward Michael Middlebrooks displayed that athleticism when he threw down a tomahawk dunk over Sanjay Lumpkin in the second half as he was fouled.

That’s how Collins would like to see his team play — pushing the ball quickly up the court.

“[The Redbirds were] probably a little bit quicker than we are in terms of having more guys that can kind of do that,” Collins said. “But I like the way, especially in the first half, [the Wildcats] got out and pushed it.

“There’s going to be a transition period. But we’ve practiced long enough. To me, it’s more of a mind-set.”

Collins’ team is adjusting to his motion-based offense, which is vastly different than the Princeton attack used under previous coach Bill Carmody.

On Sunday, the Cats shot 36.8 percent (21-for-57) overall and went 5-for-18 on threes.

Email: sgruen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SethGruen



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