Men’s Basketball: Northwestern wins sloppy game at Wisconsin


Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Anthony Gaines drives into the lane. The freshman guard had played only eight minutes and missed his only shot in Thursday’s win at Wisconsin.

Joseph Wilkinson, Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

Last year, Northwestern took down mighty then-No. 7 Wisconsin in the Kohl Center for a crucial resume-building win. This year, the Badgers sit below seventh place in the Big Ten and the Wildcats’ 60-52 road win doesn’t carry the same importance.

The Wildcats (14-10, 5-6 Big Ten) opened the game on an 18-1 run and kept the Badgers (10-14, 3-8) at bay from there. The hosts never got closer than 6 points for the rest of the game.

“We feel we got off to a great start tonight that set the tone,” coach Chris Collins told reporters in Madison. “I was really proud of how we were really sharp to start the game on both ends.”

After struggling Monday at Michigan, NU’s offense broke out in the first half against the Badgers, shooting 67 percent from the field and 57 percent from 3-point range.

In the second half, however, the offense fell apart on both ends. The teams combined to shoot 15-for-52 from the field, commit 11 turnovers and generally look out of sorts offensively.

“The last couple games our defense has been dialed in,” Collins said. “Obviously, that’s a big reason why we won tonight.”

Junior center Dererk Pardon, who made all eight of his shot attempts from the field, led the team with 17 points. The junior also made an impact on the defensive end, swatting three blocks while committing a single foul and holding his counterpart, Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ, to only 14 points on 13 shots. The Badgers’ center also committed four turnovers.

On the offensive end, he was joined in double figures by seniors guards Scottie Lindsey, who had 14 points, and Bryant McIntosh, who had 10 while adding four assists.

The backcourt duo, however, struggled from the field overall, combining to shoot only 30 percent. McIntosh turned in an uncharacteristically sloppy night handling the ball as well, committing a season-high seven turnovers.

“The way we battled back to do that defensively in the second half, to have a chance at to cut it down to 5, there were a lot of good things that came out of that,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “Obviously, not happy with the outcome, but as I told the team, don’t dig yourself in a 18-1 hole, it’s a lot easier to come back and make a run.”

Once again, the Cats got limited production among their reserves. Only six NU players played more than eight minutes, and redshirt sophomore forward Aaron Falzon had the team’s only 2 bench points.

The Cats’ defense, however, bailed out the offense. Wisconsin shot a putrid 33 percent from the field on the day, and had nearly as many turnovers as made field goals in the first half. Guard Brevin Pritzl stood out among the poor shooters, missing all 11 shots he took, including nine from long range.

With the win, NU moved into a tie for sixth place in the Big Ten and completed a 2-1 road swing. With only seven regular season games left, Collins recognized the importance of the victory.

“We’re obviously feeling great about getting the win tonight,” Collins said. “We had a stretch of three-straight road games, and to be able to win two of three is a big week for us.”

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