Men’s Basketball: Turnovers sink Northwestern in loss to Butler


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Bryant McIntosh flies for a layup. The junior guard’s late turnover in the Wildcats’ 70-68 loss at Butler set up Kamar Baldwin’s game-winning shot.

Tim Balk, Managing Editor

Men’s Basketball

If not for a number of first-half Northwestern turnovers promptly converted into easy Butler baskets Wednesday night, the Wildcats might have run away with the game. If not for a giveaway in the game’s final moments, NU might have sealed the win.

The turnover bug bit the Cats (2-1) hard as they tried to earn a significant non-conference victory on the road against the Bulldogs (2-0). Sloppy play throughout kept NU from the type of “resume” win the program is craving as it seeks to nudge its way into the annual NCAA Tournament conversation.

The Cats soundly outplayed the Bulldogs in most aspects in the first half, shooting 45.8 percent while Butler shot just 31.4 percent, but also turned the ball over six times. The Bulldogs turned those six turnovers into 10 points and used them to stay within three points of NU at the half.

In the second half, it was more of the same for the Cats, who turned the ball 10 more times — almost 30 percent of their possessions. Butler started hitting on more of its shots, making almost half of its second-half field goals, but NU hung tough thanks to hot shooting of its own from beyond the arc.

Junior guard Bryant McIntosh had a chance to put the Bulldogs away in the final minute, as he dribbled into the key looking for the dagger with the score locked at 68. But McIntosh found himself surrounded by defenders and lost the ball, setting up Butler’s game-clinching shot at the other end.

It was NU’s third turnover in the contest’s final four minutes. Sophomore forward Vic Law, who scored 17 points but turned the ball over three times, said the Cats’ giveaways in in the final possessions were the difference.

“Down the stretch, you’ve got to be tougher,” Law said.

Coach Chris Collins said the turnovers were not characteristic of his team, but agreed that they were costly. NU had committed just five turnovers in its previous game, against Eastern Washington on Monday.

“To have 16 turnovers is incredibly too high, especially on the road. Because I think three or four of those led to breakaways or run out layups and, in a two-point game, those are big plays,” Collins said. “We had the ball, it was tied up, and we didn’t even get a shot up. We turned it over.”

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