Men’s Basketball: Wildcats put faith in 3-pointers in Tuesday’s contest

Sam Krevlin, Reporter

Men’s Basketball

In the Wildcats 81-79 win, the 3-point ball was both a blessing and a curse.

Northwestern (6-1) was all about the deep ball in Tuesday’s overtime win against Virginia Tech (4-3). The Cats took a whopping 14 shots from downtown in the first half, finishing the game with 26 total.

Although the team shot tremendously in the first half, NU was unable to maintain the same level of shooting in the second, forcing the Cats to go inside. However, in overtime, clutch 3s by sophomore guard Bryant McIntosh and junior forward Sanjay Lumpkin.

NU came into the game shooting 40 percent from 3-point range, one of the best in the Big Ten. Despite shooting 10-of-26 from 3-point range, NU used deep shooting as an equalizer when it lost the lead early in overtime.

It was junior forward Nathan Taphorn who excelled from behind the arc shooting three-of-five from 3-point range. Taphorn provided an outside threat, complementing the backcourt of McIntosh and senior guard Tre Demps.

Coach Chris Collins said Taphorn’s play, particularly late in the game, was crucial for the team.

“He’s a guy who hasn’t played that much,” Collins said. “He gave us huge minutes. Played all the minutes down the stretch. Made some big plays, and not just shots.”

It was Lumpkin’s 3-pointer in overtime that brought back confidence for the Cats. After giving up its first lead of the game since early in the first half, Lumpkin ended the run and brought the Cats back within one. Lumpkin finished the game with 12 points.

“Every time we needed a big play he was the guy underneath,” Collins said.

Similarly, the Hokies shot their fair share of 3-pointers. For one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league, Virginia Tech shot 41 percent from beyond the arc.

Because of poor 3-point shooting in the second half, the Cats were forced to go inside. NU only scored 6 points off 3-pointers in the second half. The Cats didn’t make their first 3-pointer in the second half until 8:26 left in the game when Taphorn drained a shot.

Two clutch overtime 3-pointers set up the game-winner for McIntosh, who drove strong down the left side of the lane with 27 seconds left to seal the deal for the Wildcats.

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