Second-half woes doom Wildcats (Men’s Basketball)

Jim Martinho

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. In between, it was halftime.

Saturday’s loss to Michigan was a tale of two halves for Northwestern. The Wildcats (8-7, 0-4 Big Ten) headed into the break on a 10-2 run, the Welsh-Ryan Arena crowd was rowdier than it’s been all season, and NU had a 40-32 lead in a game that had all the makings of its first Big Ten win of the year.

But it all came undone in a four-minute stretch at the beginning of the second half, and the Wolverines (11-6, 4-0) outscored the Cats 45-30 after the break to claim a 77-70 victory — their 11th straight.

“For us to win that game, we had to hold that lead for a while,” NU coach Bill Carmody said. “They got it back quickly — within a minute it was four. We had to keep that lead longer if we were going to hang in there. They didn’t feel like they were out of the game.”

After a Jitim Young alley-oop on NU’s first possession of the second half gave the team a 42-32 lead — its largest in a Big Ten game this year — Michigan responded with a 13-3 run that evened the score at 45. A Daniel Horton 3-pointer and back-to-back treys from Lester Abrams left the Cats reeling.

The Wolverines put the game away in the five minutes that followed. With NU guards Young and freshman T.J. Parker — who each finished with 20 points —