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Men’s Basketball: Northwestern falls to Georgia Tech on buzzer-beater

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Bryant McIntosh dribbles. The senior guard led the Wildcats in a heartbreaking loss to Georgia Tech.

Bryant McIntosh dribbles. The senior guard led the Wildcats in a heartbreaking loss to Georgia Tech.

Daily file photo by David Lee

Daily file photo by David Lee

Bryant McIntosh dribbles. The senior guard led the Wildcats in a heartbreaking loss to Georgia Tech.

Jonah Dylan, Sports Editor

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Men’s Basketball


This isn’t exactly the start Northwestern wanted.

Tadric Jackson closed an ugly game in Atlanta with a drive to the basket as time expired, rendering Dererk Pardon’s late layup moot as Georgia Tech (4-1) handed the Wildcats (4-3) another nonconference loss, 52-51, and gave the ACC a point in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

“This wasn’t necessarily a beautifully played game by both teams, but I thought it was really, really hard played,” coach Chris Collins said. “I thought both teams played really good defense the whole game, which lent itself to a really good finish in the last couple minutes.”

Scottie Lindsey, the Cats’ leading scorer coming into Tuesday, struggled with foul trouble and didn’t score a point in the first half. The senior guard briefly went to the bench with an apparent ankle injury in the second half, and though he returned with 11:03 to play, he was replaced by junior guard Jordan Ash in crunch time as the Cats made a huge late charge.

Senior guard Bryant McIntosh finally gave his team the lead with 2:21 to go, but the Yellow Jackets regained the lead with two free throws from center Ben Lammers with 1:17 to play. NU turned the ball over on the ensuing possession.

But junior forward Vic Law forced the 15th Yellow Jacket turnover of the night to give the Cats the ball back, and Collins took a timeout with 18.8 seconds to go and NU trailing by 1.

After sophomore forward Aaron Falzon missed a 3-pointer, Pardon scored on a putback to give the Cats the lead with 7.1 seconds to play, but Jackson’s buzzer-beater clinched the game for Georgia Tech on the next possession.

Both teams came out of the gate slowly, and the score was just 7-2 at the second media timeout with 11:52 to play in the first half. Lammers scored the first seven points for the Yellow Jackets, but the Cats used an 8-0 run to take the lead with 10:39 to go.

After the game was knotted at 22, Georgia Tech connected on consecutive 3-pointers to take a 28-22 lead into the break. McIntosh led the way with a game-high 9 points and also added 5 rebounds for NU in the first half, which shot just 2-of-14 from beyond the arc in the opening frame.

“We have to do a better job first half and early in the second and not put ourselves in that position first off,” McIntosh said.

The Yellow Jackets led for much of the second half, but the Cats hung around. A Jackson 3-pointer pushed the Georgia Tech lead to 10 with just over eight minutes left, but NU simply would not go away. Ash scored his first points of the season on a 3-pointer with 5:49 to go, and the Cats continued to close.

McIntosh finished with 18 points to lead all scorers, while Lammers paced the Yellow Jackets with 13. Pardon registered a double-double, logging 10 points and 12 rebounds on the night, while Law added 12 points.

As has become a theme this season, the Cats struggled to get production from their bench. Besides Ash’s long ball, NU’s lone bench points came on a bucket from Falzon; the Cats were outscored 13 to 5 in bench points on the night.

Tuesday was one of NU’s last chances to boost its tournament resume with nonconference wins after losses to Creighton and Texas Tech, as the Cats only have one major-conference opponent, Oklahoma, remaining on their nonconference schedule. But Collins said despite tough shooting nights from Lindsey and Falzon, he was proud of the tenacity his team showed.

“When I look at the stat sheet and I see my two best shooters 0-for-12 from 3 and I see us outshot 16-4 at the foul line, to lose a game by one at the buzzer, it shows a lot of grit in my guys that we hung in there and gave ourselves a chance,” he said.

NU will be back in action when it kicks off Big Ten play Friday against Illinois.

Email: jonahdylan2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @thejonahdylan

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