Men’s Basketball: Northwestern grinds out first win at Ohio State in 40 years


Daily file photo by Rachel Dubner

Scottie Lindsey gathers himself. The junior guard’s 21 points helped the Wildcats escape with a road win in Columbus.

Max Schuman, Web Projects Editor

Men’s Basketball

On Sunday in Columbus, Northwestern didn’t look like the same team that just a week earlier soared past Iowa in front of a raucous home crowd.

The result was the same, though. Even with their offense sputtering for large parts of the game, the Wildcats (16-4, 5-2 Big Ten) still found a way to pull out a 74-72 road win over Ohio State (12-8, 2-5).

NU shot just 37.5 percent from the field on the day and only 32.3 percent after the break as the team muddled through the second period. After taking a 36-31 lead into the half, the Cats needed more than two and a half minutes to score their first points of the second half and suffered another scoreless drought from 11:31 to 7:14.

Both junior guard Bryant McIntosh and sophomore forward Vic Law, two of NU’s top scoring options, struggled to find a rhythm from the field, combining for 27 points but hitting just 8-of-25 shots in the game.

“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well,” coach Chris Collins said. “They have a lot of length, and they make you take some tough shots when they’re dialed in defensively.”

As the Cats struggled to buy a basket for long stretches, they also dealt with foul trouble in the frontcourt. Law, sophomore center Dererk Pardon and senior forward Sanjay Lumpkin each ended the game with four fouls, and the Buckeyes shot 23 free throws in total Sunday.

But Ohio State hit just 12 of those 23 attempts. Junior Jae’Sean Tate, who led the way for the Buckeyes with 14 points, shot 1-for-6 on his free throws, an especially painful mark in a close conference battle.

When it wasn’t putting Ohio State at the line, NU played effective defense to stay afloat despite an uninspired offensive showing. The Cats held the Buckeyes to an 8-for-22 line from 3 and forced 13 turnovers that led to 17 points on the other end. One such turnover, a steal by Isiah Brown, led to a fast-break layup for the freshman guard that lifted his team ahead 63-58 with three minutes remaining.

“Our ability to create some turnovers was big,” Collins said. “Forcing 13 turnovers and to get 17 points off our turnovers … those two numbers really jump out on a night where we didn’t really shoot the ball great.”

With the game close late into the second half, nervous NU fans likely flashed back to last season’s matchup in Columbus. In that contest, Ohio State pressured the Cats into mistakes and turned a late 56-56 tie into a 71-63 victory.

This time, NU took care of business to close out the game, securing its first road win against the Buckeyes since 1977. The Cats didn’t turn the ball over in the final 2:43 and hit 11-of-12 free throws down the stretch to keep Ohio State from having a chance to retake the lead.

“We got the ball to the right guys, and we made pressure free throws,” Collins said. “Even though they were scoring … I thought we handled the last two minutes pretty well.”

Two foul shots from junior guard Scottie Lindsey, whose scoring was a bright spot as he tallied a team-leading 21 points, gave NU a 74-70 lead with five seconds left to lock up the team’s fourth road victory of the young Big Ten season.

“We’ve been through a lot of tough games, a lot of close games and we’ve learned so much,” Lindsey said. “We can go into hostile arenas and environments and pull out a win.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @maxschuman28