Men’s Basketball: Northwestern squanders late lead in loss to Notre Dame


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Bryant McIntosh drives to the hoop. The junior guard shot just 3-for-18 in Northwestern’s loss to Notre Dame.

Ben Pope, Reporter

Men’s Basketball

With 22 seconds left in Tuesday’s Legends Classic championship game, Northwestern had the inside track to earn its second high-caliber non-conference victory in as many days.

“We were right there,” sophomore forward Vic Law said. “We had it.”

But Notre Dame, a team coming off back-to-back Elite Eight appearances the past two seasons, forced a turnover, converted a layup-and-one and stopped the Wildcats (3-2) on their last possession to ultimately prevail with a 70-66 win in Brooklyn.

The Fighting Irish (5-0) flipped a 64-58 deficit with six minutes left into a 65-64 lead, but NU reclaimed the advantage when junior guard Bryant McIntosh made a go-ahead floater and sophomore center Dererk Pardon rebounded a Notre Dame miss with 25 seconds left.

But then senior forward Nathan Taphorn committed an inexplicable turnover off an inbounds play and the Fighting Irish scored the winning points on a layup and free throw by Matt Farrell with 14 seconds left. McIntosh then missed another floater in the waning seconds and Farrell drained two free throws to ice the result.

Junior forward Scottie Lindsey paced the Cats with 17 points on an efficient 6-for-8 performance, including 3-for-3 from deep. Law added 15 points and six rebounds and Taphorn made four of five 3-point attempts off the bench, but McIntosh made only 3 of 18 shots and turned the ball over four times.

Notre Dame threatened several times to pull away, leading by as many as 10 points in the first half and 11 early in the second half before NU erupted on a 27-10 run to take the lead.

“Basketball is a game all about runs,” Law said. “They’re going to throw some punches, and you’re either going to get knocked back or you’re going to get up and throw some right back. I think we did a good job staying on our feet and playing well the whole game.”

Both teams found success from beyond the arc, shooting better from 3-point range than 2-point range. Notre Dame started off a red-hot 8-for-12 from 3-point range before missing its final six tries; the Cats made a season-high 12 3-pointers.

NU also dominated the boards, out-rebounding its opponents 37-26, but committed a costly 16 turnovers.

As a young team with only two seniors on the roster and little familiarity with playing top teams outside the Big Ten, the Cats have shown promise this November. But they must learn how to finish off more experienced opponents. The team held a lead during the last minute of both its losses this season, including in last week’s 70-68 loss to Butler.

“Definitely finishing games,” Lindsey said when asked what the team needs to improve. “This is two games so far where we were up…and both times we haven’t finished those games. That’s obviously going to be an emphasis for us going forward.”

This story was updated at 9:59 to include quotes.

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