The Daily Northwestern

Rapid Recap: Penn State 78, Northwestern 63

Bryant+McIntosh+looks+for+a+pass+in+a+game+earlier+this+season.+McIntosh+lead+the+Cats+in+his+return+from+injury%2C+but+the+team+struggled+overall+in+yet+another+loss.
Bryant McIntosh looks for a pass in a game earlier this season. McIntosh lead the Cats in his return from injury, but the team struggled overall in yet another loss.

Bryant McIntosh looks for a pass in a game earlier this season. McIntosh lead the Cats in his return from injury, but the team struggled overall in yet another loss.

Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Bryant McIntosh looks for a pass in a game earlier this season. McIntosh lead the Cats in his return from injury, but the team struggled overall in yet another loss.

Benjy Apelbaum, Assistant Sports Editor

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Men’s Basketball


The return of senior guard and floor general Bryant McIntosh had the potential to rejuvenate Northwestern after a difficult loss to Nebraska, but instead the Wildcats turned in another disappointing performance in a 78-63 defeat to Penn State.

During the first half, NU (10-7, 1-3 Big Ten) could not stop the Nittany Lions (12-5, 2-2) and forward Lamar Stevens, who had a career-high 30 points on 14-for-18 shooting.

The Cats trailed by as many as 16 in the first half, but a rally that began late in the first half and continued into the second cut the lead to three with 15 minutes remaining. However, the Penn State frontcourt duo of Stevens and forward Mike Watkins was too much for NU to overcome.

Takeaways:

1. McIntosh’s return was much needed for the offense. McIntosh returned to the starting lineup after missing the last game with a knee injury. In a full load of minutes, McIntosh appeared healthy and scored 18 points and dealt 4 assists. The point guard’s scoring and playmaking was essential to the team’s offense which looked more fluid than it did against the Cornhuskers. Nevertheless, the offense was not potent enough to overcome the Nittany Lions’ successful scoring night.

2. The defense continues to struggle. The Cats’ identity last season was their disciplined defense, but the team has not been as consistent on that end this year. Penn State was often able to move the ball around with ease and finish possessions with dunks. The hosts shot 71 percent in the first half and 55 percent in the game. Coach Chris Collins criticized the team’s energy during a first half timeout, and Penn State out-hustled NU all game.

3. Northwestern’s NCAA Tournament chances are on life support.
After lackluster play during its nonconference schedule, NU needed a strong performance in conference play, and losses to middling Nebraska and Penn State are not going to cut it. Only four Big Ten teams are in ESPN’s latest NCAA tournament projection, so the Cats will need to go on a miraculous run down the stretch to make the field.

Email: benjyapelbaum2019@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @benjyapelbaum

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