Men’s Basketball: Without Scottie Lindsey, Northwestern’s offense flounders at Purdue


Daily file photo by Rachel Dubner

Isiah Brown attempts a shot. The freshman logged his first career start but struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the Wildcats’ 21-point loss.

Tim Balk, Managing Editor

Men’s Basketball

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Facing one of the nation’s most formidable offensive squads Wednesday night, No. 25 Northwestern needed to put the ball in the bucket. Instead, the Wildcats struggled to manufacture offense as the No. 23 Boilermakers poured in point after point against NU’s typically stout defense.

“They kind of put us on our heels because they were hitting shots,” junior guard Bryant McIntosh said. “It took away from our offense because what we hang our hat on wasn’t getting the job done.”

The Cats hit a season-low 35 percent of their shots and Purdue (18-5, 7-3 Big Ten) rolled to an 80-59 win over NU (18-5, 7-3) at Mackey Arena to give the visitors a rude welcome into the top 25.

The absence of guard Scottie Lindsey visibly hurt the Cats. Lindsey, who leads the team in scoring at 15.4 points per game, missed the game due to illness.

In conference play, the junior has often been at his best on the road, posting 21 points in a long-awaited victory at Ohio State, 31 at Penn State and 19 at Nebraska. In what may go down as the season’s toughest road test, the Cats simply could not find a replacement for their top scoring option.

The obvious candidate to fill the void, sophomore forward Vic Law, was out of his offensive rhythm from the tip. NU’s second-leading scorer went scoreless in the first half on three shots. In the second half, things didn’t come much easier for Law, and he finished with 1 point.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said his team tried to disrupt Law’s rhythm by keeping him from getting post touches and sticking with him in transition.

“We know that he’s streaky, and he’s a guy who — once he hits one — now sometimes you can actually be there (guarding him), and he still makes them,” Painter said. “He’s a good player, man. He’s really improved. Sometimes getting on the road and not giving those guys opportunities — he had seven shots; that was probably the tell-tale for us that we didn’t give him a lot of opportunities.”

While Law sputtered, McIntosh did his best to infuse some energy into the offense. He uncorked an array of jumpers and floaters en route to 22 points. The junior’s feathery shooting wasn’t nearly enough.

Lindsey’s replacement in the starting lineup, freshman guard Isiah Brown, hardly looked wide-eyed as he made his first career start in one of the conference’s most intimidating road venues. He launched 14 shots, but also struggled to find the nylon, connecting on just four.

McIntosh and Brown were NU’s only players to reach double-digit points in the weak offensive effort.

“I give (Purdue) credit. I thought they did a good job. I thought they were very physical defensively. They put a lot of emphasis on trying to get into our perimeter players,” coach Chris Collins said. “They’re a good team for a reason.”

Though few opponents are as tough as Purdue, the Cats will need to find an offensive groove without Lindsey. Collins said the team does not know when the junior will return.

He also said the team won’t make any drastic changes offensively after the lopsided loss.

“You can’t overreact on one game,” Collins said. “We’ll look at the film; we’ll see what we need to do to improve offensively, but I’m not going to overreact. We have a good team.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @timbalk