The Daily Northwestern

Rapid Recap: No. 16 Purdue 69, Northwestern 65

Bryant+McIntosh+drives+through+traffic.+The+junior+guard+scored+25+points+and+handed+out+six+assists+in+Northwestern%27s+narrow+loss+to+Purdue.+
Bryant McIntosh drives through traffic. The junior guard scored 25 points and handed out six assists in Northwestern's narrow loss to Purdue.

Bryant McIntosh drives through traffic. The junior guard scored 25 points and handed out six assists in Northwestern's narrow loss to Purdue.

Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

Bryant McIntosh drives through traffic. The junior guard scored 25 points and handed out six assists in Northwestern's narrow loss to Purdue.

Tim Balk, Managing Editor

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Men’s Basketball


Riding a high after Wednesday’s crucial victory over Michigan, Northwestern gave Big Ten-leading No. 16 Purdue a run for its money Sunday, but ultimately fell short.

Though the Wildcats (21-10, 10-8 Big Ten) missed a chance at an upset in the 69-65 loss to the Boilermakers, (25-6, 14-4) they showed marked improvement from the last time the two teams met — a 21-point February win for Purdue.

NU came close, but couldn’t sweeten the Senior Day celebration of senior forwards Sanjay Lumpkin and Nathan Taphorn.

The Cats bolted out of the gate, taking an 18-12 lead early with an uncontested fastbreak slam from freshman center Barret Benson just under seven minutes into the half. When a block from Scottie Lindsey led to the junior guard draining a 3 at the other end, NU took a 9-point lead and a sold-out Welsh-Ryan Arena crowd exploded.

Purdue answered, using an 11-0 run that ended in a 3 from star forward Caleb Swanigan to take back the lead. Back-and-forth play prevailed for the final minutes of the half, and the two teams entered the break with the score tied at 37.

With an efficient offensive attack, Purdue controlled most of the second half and took a 9-point lead with seven minutes left in the contest on a Swanigan jam. NU responded in a major way: with a trio of baskets that left coach Chris Collins jumping up and down to rile up the crowd.

The Boilermakers maintained their lead in the final minutes with timely buckets, but a jumper from sophomore center Dererk Pardon cut the deficit to 3 with 54 seconds left, and the Cats used a stop to get the ball back moments later. At the other end, NU went to one of its seniors, Taphorn, who attempted the game-tying 3. But it sailed short, and Purdue iced the game in the final moments at the charity stripe.

Takeaways

1. Northwestern can’t keep up with high-powered Purdue
Though the Cats impressed in stretches against Purdue with their transition offense, and poured in 7 loud fastbreak points, they did not seem to have the offensive firepower needed to take down the class of the Big Ten. The Boilermakers entered the contest leading the conference in scoring and showed flashes of offensive brilliance throughout despite solid NU defense. While the Cats seem to be breaking out of their offensive rut and shot 45 percent from the field for the game, taking down Purdue proved to be an uphill battle they couldn’t quite climb.

2. Bryant McIntosh becomes program assist leader
Evan as NU celebrated a pair of seniors who have played key roles in the program’s success this season, there’s little doubt that McIntosh is the heart and soul of the team. The junior guard put forth a stellar performance against Purdue and now owns the school’s all-time assist record (531) after handing out six dimes Sunday.

3. Madness again at Welsh-Ryan Arena
Welsh-Ryan Arena has seen some special atmospheres this year as the Cats emerge on the national basketball scene. But Sunday’s was something different altogether. Both student sections began to overflow more than 15 minutes before the game. And, with a national CBS audience watching, NU put on its best show.

The current iteration of the facility, which will undergo a $110 million renovation and is expected to reopen in fall 2018, received quite the sendoff. It is hard to imagine that the building has ever seen a more raucous crowd than Sunday’s.

Stats
-Bryant McIntosh: 25 points, 6 assists
-Caleb Swanigan: 20 points, 14 rebounds
-NU: 0-for-10 from 3 in second half

Email: timothybalk2018@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @timbalk

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