Men’s Basketball: Northwestern escapes DePaul with 62-60 win


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

Isiah Brown goes to the hoop. The sophomore guard played a key role in the Wildcats’ 62-60 win over DePaul on Saturday.

Joseph Wilkinson, Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

Despite injuries, foul trouble and senior guard Bryant McIntosh’s worst game of the season, Northwestern pulled out a gritty 62-60 victory at DePaul on Saturday.

Fellow senior guard Scottie Lindsey was the catalyst for the Wildcats (8-4), leading NU with 25 points and nailing a 3-pointer from NBA range to give the Cats a 62-57 lead with only 55 seconds remaining.

“We had a play that we had set up,” Lindsey said. “They kind of took away our play, and I just looked up at the (shot) clock, and it was only about six seconds left, so I just knew I had to get a shot up… I thought I had a good shot opportunity, and I’d been shooting well that night. So I thought it was a good shot, and it went in.”

On the other end, however, freshman guard Anthony Gaines fouled DePaul guard Max Strus — who led all scorers with 33 points — as he took a 3-pointer, and after Strus canned three free throws and NU committed a shot clock violation, the Blue Demons had a shot to win the game or force overtime.

DePaul guard Eli Cain, however, missed a contested layup with a second left, and NU escaped with the victory.

“It was a hell of a game,” coach Chris Collins said. “We were in this situation in Atlanta a few weeks ago… We’re all kind of kicking ourselves for how we defended that last play… There was just a resolve in our huddle. We wanted to make them come back to the ball, so it would take them three or four dribbles to get into the scoring area.”

Things didn’t always look so bright for the Cats. When junior forward Vic Law left with what Collins labelled “an upper-body injury” with over 17 minutes remaining in the game, DePaul (6-5) was up 36-28 and looked to be in control.

The Wildcats, however, would not go away, launching a 13-4 run midway through the half and taking a 44-43 lead on a 3-pointer from the corner by sophomore guard Isiah Brown.

“The minutes by Isiah Brown, Jordan Ash and Anthony Gaines were huge,” Collins said. “We needed those three kids to come in, and I think they did an awesome job for us during that stretch.”

From that point, the game went back and forth, with the NU bench making key contributions on offense as the Cats locked down DePaul on the defensive end. The Blue Demons struggled just as much from the free throw line as they did the floor, shooting a spectacularly bad 9-of-24 at the foul line.

While the second half was a wild affair, the first half had a decidedly different tone.

After a scorching opening four minutes, the teams each cooled off, missing shots, committing offensive fouls and turning the ball over for the rest of the half. From the 13:39 mark in the half until six minutes remained in the period, the teams combined for 5-for-19 shooting and 11 turnovers.

The lone efficient weapon in the half for NU was Law, who scored 9 points on only four shots. Lindsey and McIntosh, however, struggled in the half, combining to go 5-for-19 from the field in the opening period.

“(DePaul) did a good job,” Collins said. “They were trapping (McIntosh) on all his ball screens, where Bryant’s really good in the pick-and-rolls… He loves those little floaters in the lane. Normally he makes a lot of those. He just wasn’t able to get them going down tonight.”

While Lindsey eventually found his stroke, he picked up his fourth foul with over 13 minutes remaining and spent several minutes on the bench. With Lindsey and Law out and McIntosh continuing to struggle, Brown and Ash, a junior guard, stepped up to lead the comeback effort. The two combined for 12 points to get the Cats back into the game before Lindsey took charge in crunch time.

“Every game with Isiah, he’s getting better and better,” Lindsey said. “Jordan is a good locker room guy, everyone really listens to him and rallies around him, so when he’s playing well I think everyone starts to play well.”

NU will return home to face Lewis on Tuesday.

Correction: A previous version of this story said DePaul shot 6-for-21 at the foul line. The Blue Demons were 9-for-24. The Daily regrets the error.

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