The Daily Northwestern

Rapid Recap: Northwestern 73, Nebraska 61

Bryant+McIntosh+dribbles+up+the+court.+The+junior+guard+scored+9+points+and+dished+out+9+assists+in+Northwestern%27s+win+over+Nebraska.+
Bryant McIntosh dribbles up the court. The junior guard scored 9 points and dished out 9 assists in Northwestern's win over Nebraska.

Bryant McIntosh dribbles up the court. The junior guard scored 9 points and dished out 9 assists in Northwestern's win over Nebraska.

Sara Gnolek/The Daily Northwestern

Sara Gnolek/The Daily Northwestern

Bryant McIntosh dribbles up the court. The junior guard scored 9 points and dished out 9 assists in Northwestern's win over Nebraska.

Garrett Jochnau, Sports Editor

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Men’s Basketball


Sophomore center Dererk Pardon notched a double-double as Northwestern left Nebraska in the dust Thursday night, eventually emerging with the 73-61 win at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

The first half was mostly back-and-forth, but the Cats dominated late to earn their fifth-straight victory.

Nebraska struck first, but NU then went on a 12-2 run, breaking down the Cornhuskers’ defense for a string of easy scores. But the visitors responded with a 12-2 run of their own as NU’s offensive magic from the opening minutes disappeared.

Pardon helped the Cats find a rhythm, anchoring the team on the glass and in the post, but Nebraska answered whenever NU threatened a run.

Both teams entered the break shooting sub-40 percent, with the Cats holding a slight 3-point edge.

The back-and-forth play continued in the opening minutes of the second half. Both teams found opportunities to score, but neither was able to put their opponent in the rearview. Eventually, Pardon’s continued excellence — combined with timely makes from junior guards Bryant McIntosh and Scottie Lindsey — helped the Cats sneak out to a multi-possession lead.

Though the final score wasn’t quite as one-sided as the team’s rout of Iowa, the final few minutes saw the Cats thriving on both ends of the floor, as Pardon capped a career night while NU emerged with a comfortable victory.

Takeaways

1. Dererk Pardon steals the show

Once again, Pardon was at his best against Nebraska. Earlier in the season, the center turned in a solid 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting against the Cornhuskers in his second game back from injury. Last year, Pardon tallied a career-high 28 points to go with 12 rebounds in Lincoln in just his second collegiate contest.

Thursday proved to be yet another Pardon showstopper against the Cornhuskers. The big man wasted no time filling the stat sheet, pulling down 13 rebounds in the first half and a career-high 22 on the night. Pardon was also a force offensively, scoring 19 points. The sophomore cleaned up misses and connected with McIntosh on a number of pick and rolls to spark NU’s offense from start to finish.

When he eventually left the game with 1:11 remaining, the sophomore was treated to a chorus of “MVP” chants from the student section to close the memorable night.

2. Northwestern pounds the paint

The Cats appeared to make offensive adjustments against Nebraska. Entering Thursday, NU had attempted at least 19 three-pointers in all but one game this season. But the Cats attempted just 15, their lowest output since their second game of the campaign.

With Pardon providing a boost inside, NU was able to produce without relying on the 3-point shot. The team’s wings looked to slash rather than shoot, attacking the Cornhuskers’ bigs in the paint on the bulk of its possessions.

Still, the Cats found success from beyond the arc. They connected on 6-of-15 attempts, with an early second-half 3 from McIntosh and a subsequent make from Lindsey proving crucial as NU established itself in the second period.

3. The Wildcats are having fun

Earlier in the season, coach Chris Collins said his team needed to enjoy itself on the court. As has been the case recently, NU played with a pep in its step.

A loud and crowded Welsh-Ryan Arena provided the backdrop as the Cats put on a show down the stretch. On the crucial 3-point makes, a Pardon dunk in the second period and an alley-oop to sophomore forward Vic Law, NU brought the crowd to its feet. And when Nebraska coach Tim Miles was given a technical late in the final period, the energy was palpable.

NU is in the national spotlight as it searches for its first-ever NCAA Tournament bid, and with the prospect of making history suddenly real, the Cats are taking in the moment.

Stats
– Scottie Lindsey failed to reach double-digit scoring (5 points) for the first time this season
– Dererk Pardon recorded 19 rebounds and 22 points
– Vic Law: 20 points

Email: jochnau@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @GarrettJochnau

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