Men’s Basketball: Northwestern outlasts Wisconsin, 70-65, for first Big Ten home win

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Men’s Basketball: Northwestern outlasts Wisconsin, 70-65, for first Big Ten home win

Sanjay Lumpkin fights for the shot. The junior forward scored 9 points to help Northwestern earn its first home conference win of the season against Wisconsin.

Sanjay Lumpkin fights for the shot. The junior forward scored 9 points to help Northwestern earn its first home conference win of the season against Wisconsin.

Jacob Swan/Daily Senior Staffer

Sanjay Lumpkin fights for the shot. The junior forward scored 9 points to help Northwestern earn its first home conference win of the season against Wisconsin.

Jacob Swan/Daily Senior Staffer

Jacob Swan/Daily Senior Staffer

Sanjay Lumpkin fights for the shot. The junior forward scored 9 points to help Northwestern earn its first home conference win of the season against Wisconsin.

Ben Pope, Reporter

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Men’s Basketball


In the third Big Ten game at Welsh-Ryan Arena, the Wildcats finally found the elusive home win they have been craving.

Sophomore guard Bryant McIntosh erupted in the second half as the Wildcats (15-3, 3-2 Big Ten) rallied in the game’s final eight minutes to top Wisconsin (9-9, 1-4) 70-65 on Tuesday night. McIntosh scored 20 of his game-high 28 points after the break as NU earned its first home victory against the Badgers since 2009.

After attempting 20 or more 3-pointers in each of their last four games, the Cats went just 4-for-12 from deep but converted a season-high 22 free throws and outrebounded Wisconsin 34-25.

“(The Badgers) were really trying to hug the three-point line…and we told the guys to drive the ball,” coach Chris Collins said. “We were able to win a grind-it-out kind of game so I was really proud of my guys.”

McIntosh began his productive night early, knocking down his first three shots and feeding graduate center Joey van Zegeren on a crowd-energizing alley-oop as the Cats surged to an early 12-3 lead.

Freshman center Dererk Pardon made a significant impact soon after being first subbed in with 13:23 until halftime, grabbing an acrobatic rebound on the defensive end and then finishing over a Wisconsin defender on the opposite end.

A scoreless drought for NU in the middle of the first half, however, helped Wisconsin regain confidence. The Badgers used a 15-4 run to claim an 18-16 lead with under seven minutes left in the first half after a 3-pointer by guard Jordan Hill.

Deep baskets from freshman forward Aaron Falzon and junior forward Sanjay Lumpkin helped the Cats regain the advantage by halftime, a 26-24 lead.

However, Wisconsin grabbed the lead right out of the half as guard Zak Showalter drained a 3-pointer with just 20 seconds in.

As the Badgers started to get in a groove on offense, McIntosh took over. The sophomore guard was the only NU player to tally double-digit points.

After trailing 47-46 with under eight minutes to play, McIntosh led a run of 6 consecutive points for the Cats, connecting with van Zegeren for another alley-oop and then drove for a layup to force a Wisconsin timeout.

“Getting those 6 points … was huge,” Collins said. “The crowd got into it a little bit and then I thought we were able to carry that on down the stretch.”

Despite Pardon fouling out and a full-court press that gave NU trouble, the hosts converted well enough at the charity stripe to keep the Badgers at bay.

After mostly relying on a zone defense in Saturday’s dominant win over Minnesota, the Cats executed a hybrid zone on Tuesday to key on Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes while maintaining the same overall scheme.

“It just requires talking, especially with the forwards,” said junior forward Sanjay Lumpkin. “It was more of a matchup zone.”

Badgers’ interim coach Greg Gard said the zone defense was something he was concerned about entering the game, as his team hadn’t faced an opponent that used it in “quite a while.” His team’s lack of practice attacking it seemed to have an effect as the game wore on, with Hayes scoring only 5 points in the opening frame and tallying 12 in the second half.

Lumpkin and Falzon both added 9 points and five rebounds for NU. Senior guard Tre Demps’ struggles continued, though, as he made just 3-of-10 shots Tuesday and failed to improve his 31 percent shooting efficiency during Big Ten play.

In the two losses that began the Welsh-Ryan conference slate, the Cats shot a measly 17.8 percent from 3-point range. On Tuesday, their 33 percent conversion rate from deep was barely even a factor.

“There’s a lot of chatter that we’re a one-trick pony,” Collins said. “For us to … drive the ball and get fouled and get the stops we need and play a … hard-nosed kind of game and win, it’s good for our growth.”

Email: benjaminpope2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @BenPope111

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