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Men’s Basketball: Second straight second-half comeback leads Wildcats over Minnesota

Bryant+McIntosh+attacks+the+defense.+The+senior+guard+tied+for+the+team+lead+with+18+points+as+part+of+the+Wildcats%E2%80%99+second-half+comeback.
Bryant McIntosh attacks the defense. The senior guard tied for the team lead with 18 points as part of the Wildcats’ second-half comeback.

Bryant McIntosh attacks the defense. The senior guard tied for the team lead with 18 points as part of the Wildcats’ second-half comeback.

Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Bryant McIntosh attacks the defense. The senior guard tied for the team lead with 18 points as part of the Wildcats’ second-half comeback.

Ella Brockway, Reporter

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Men’s Basketball


When senior guard Bryant McIntosh checked back into the game with 8:02 remaining in Tuesday’s conference matchup against Minnesota, Northwestern trailed by a point. McIntosh had yet to attempt a shot in the second half after scoring 11 points in the first, and the Wildcats had missed three of their last five shots.

Less than a minute later, McIntosh hit one of his signature floaters in the paint to put NU up 60-59. The Cats would not give up the lead again.

McIntosh and junior guard Vic Law combined for 36 points and made clutch plays down the stretch to give NU (13-9, 4-5 Big Ten) its first conference road win of the season over Minnesota (14-9, 3-7) and its second straight comeback win.

The Cats rallied back from what was a 10-point Minnesota lead in the first half with a strong second-half performance. The defense held Minnesota’s leading scorers, guard Nate Mason and forward Jordan Murphy, to 12 points in the second half. Mason and Murphy had combined for 23 points in the opening period.

“They were making some tough shots in the first half, and if you keep making tough shots you’re not going to make them all game,” Law told reporters in Minneapolis. “I think our defense was locked in from the beginning, but as the game wore on we were able to remain tough and hold down.”

NU outscored Minnesota 43-29 in the latter frame. The Golden Gophers shot just 9-for-29 from the field and 3-for-14 from three-point range in the second half.

It was a sharp contrast from their first half performance. Minnesota shot 53 percent from the field and made six 3-pointers before the break.

“We wore down,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “I thought we really scrapped and fought, but just give them credit. They made shots when they needed to, and we couldn’t.”

Tuesday’s win was the second straight game in which Law and McIntosh led the comeback for the Cats. Law and McIntosh scored a total 28 points in Saturday’s 70-61 win over Penn State, 14 of which came in the second half.

NU trailed the Nittany Lions by 2 heading into the second half Saturday, and came back to outscore Penn State 37-26 after the break.

In that game, the Cats held the Nittany Lions without a field goal for the last 10:37, and though Tuesday’s defensive performance down the stretch — allowing just five field goals in the game’s last 12 minutes — wasn’t quite as impressive, it yet again represented a marked improvement over the team’s first half defense.

“We had to shore up some defensive stuff,” McIntosh said. “We couldn’t give up layups and 3s, and (needed to) try and make them take long contested 2s. I thought for the most part in the second half we did a really good job of that.”

Email: ellabrockway2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @ellabrockway

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