Northwestern throttles Minnesota and gets back on track
    Even in their recent wins against Brown and DePaul, Northwestern Men’s Basketball (11-7, 2-3 B1G) has not looked good - they hardly led the Ivy League school at halftime, and squeaked by the Blue Demons by 2 points. They’ve looked significantly worse in 15-point losses to Big Ten foes Nebraska and Penn State. The defense has allowed far too many easy baskets in transition and has consistently been out-hustled, something fans are not used to seeing in the Chris Collins era. However, the ‘Cats took a big stride toward where they should be with a convincing 83-60 stomping of short-handed Minnesota (13-5, 2-3 B1G) on Wednesday night. While an NCAA tournament berth is now a pipe dream, the team might have upgraded from "unwatchable" to "critical but stable condition."

    The story of the game was Bryant McIntosh, who set a school-record with 16 assists along with 11 points and 5 rebounds. Although he shot 4-13 from the field, McIntosh broke other bad habits of the season by having no turnovers. Other standouts included Anthony Gaines, who looked even better than his line of 6 rebounds, 3 points, 2 steals and 2 assists. And on a night where the Wildcats shot 11-24 from behind the arc, Aaron Falzon went 3-5 and Gavin Skelly went 2-2.

    In the first half, Northwestern struggled shooting early and trailed 9-8 before rattling off a 35-12 run that featured 10 Scottie Lindsey points and 2 Dererk Pardon dunks, including this gem:

    Minnesota continued to miss the play of Reggie Lynch, who was banned from the Minnesota campus until 2020 after multiple sexual assault allegations. The team shot just 22.2% from the field and had 8 turnovers.

    In the second half, play was more evenly matched, with Northwestern winning the half 40-39. Pardon had an absurd five blocks in the half, Falzon led all scorers with 13 points and McIntosh had 9 dimes.

    “We had some success changing the defense up a little bit,” said Collins. Northwestern sported a 2-3 and utilized the press on multiple occasions.

    The Wildcats had a players-only meeting prior to the game and showed up with more energy and much better communication than in recent games. “We were just very real with each other this whole week,” said Lindsey. “We put everything out there and talked about how we were struggling and not playing well and not playing our brand of basketball.”

    Northwestern will look to ride their positive momentum in Bloomington on Sunday as they square off against Indiana (10-7, 3-2 B1G).


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