Men’s Basketball: Law’s double-double powers Northwestern past Minnesota


Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Scottie Lindsey gets a shot off. The senior guard was another key part of Northwestern’s comeback effort Tuesday as he scored 15 points.

Ben Pope, Managing Editor

Northwestern has seemingly found an unlikely recipe for success: trail for the majority of the game.

Yet again, the Wildcats (13-9, 4-5 Big Ten) fell behind for the bulk of the night, only to rally midway through the second half and pull away for a win, this time 77-69 over Minnesota (14-9, 3-7) on Tuesday night.

“We feel like, in the last two weeks, we’re starting to play good basketball,” coach Chris Collins told reporters in Minneapolis. “A game like tonight, it keeps us in the mix.”

Junior forward Vic Law tallied his second double-double of the season with 18 points — on 6-of-11 shooting — and a career-high 13 rebounds, while senior guards Bryant McIntosh and Scottie Lindsey added 18 and 15 points, respectively.

NU trailed by double-digits on several occasions late in the first half and faced a 40-34 halftime deficit, but gradually made up ground after the break until Lindsey’s only made 3-pointer gave the Cats their first lead — since the game’s early going — with 11 minutes to play. The teams then traded buckets back and forth until a floater by McIntosh with 7:37 left gave the visitors the advantage for good.

“Sometimes it’s easy to allow yourself to run offense out at 35 feet (from the basket),” McIntosh said. “I thought we worked really hard, we drove gaps and played off penetration really well.”

Two weeks after one of his worst performances of the season in NU’s 83-60 victory over the Golden Gophers on Jan. 10, star Minnesota guard Nate Mason erupted for 25 points and nine assists on Tuesday. Amir Coffey, who missed the meeting in Rosemont with an injury, tacked on 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting.

Nevertheless, the Golden Gophers went cold from the field throughout the second half, shooting just 31 percent and making only five field goals over the game’s final 12 minutes of play.

“We didn’t want to overreact (to Minnesota’s early shooting),” Collins said. “They made shots early, (but) we wanted to stick tight with our principles early and make sure we were protecting the paint, and sooner or later, those shots weren’t going in as much.”

If that trend sounds familiar, it’s because it is: The Cats held Penn State without a single bucket for the game’s final 10 minutes in Saturday’s win. The defense has now held opponents to fewer than 70 points in four of the last five games after a streak of four straight allowing more than 70 prior to that.

NU’s recent improvement under the rim also continued. Junior center Dererk Pardon, despite sitting briefly with foul trouble early in the second half, went 5-for-7 for 10 points, brought down five offensive rebounds and tallied three blocks, helping the Cats rack up 34 points in the paint.

A six-day break before a crucial measuring-stick game at Michigan now awaits NU, suddenly the winners of consecutive conference games for the first time all year.

“We can’t look back now and say what we could have or should have done during the early part of the season,” Collins said. “The only thing we can do now is control what we do the rest of the way.”

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