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Men’s Basketball: Second-half struggles doom Cats again

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Scottie Lindsey finishes a layup.Northwestern lost its fourth straight game Monday as the Wildcats saw another early lead fall.

Scottie Lindsey finishes a layup.Northwestern lost its fourth straight game Monday as the Wildcats saw another early lead fall.

Keshia Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

Keshia Johnson/Daily Senior Staffer

Scottie Lindsey finishes a layup.Northwestern lost its fourth straight game Monday as the Wildcats saw another early lead fall.

Ella Brockway, Reporter

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Men’s Basketball


It was an all-too familiar position, coming just over 48 hours after Northwestern blew a 27-point lead and suffered a second-half collapse in a 65-60 loss to No. 2 Michigan State.

This time, the Wildcats (15-14, 6-10 Big Ten) were leading Maryland (19-11, 8-9) by three with 9:44 left in the second half of Monday night’s home matchup, and what had been an 11-point lead early in the half was already dwindling.

Just when NU needed to make a big run rather than give one up, it all started to fall apart. Maryland hit three consecutive layups in less than a minute and sank a three-pointer to go up 58-54 and did not lose the lead.

That poor second-half performance doomed the Cats for the third straight game in Monday’s 71-64 loss to the Terrapins.

NU shot 38 percent from the field in the second half against the Terrapins after shooting 45 percent and sinking eight threes in the first half. The late collapse represented a continuation in the recent trend of dreadful second-half performances from the Cats.

“If you are tough enough and you win those three, your record’s a little different than it is where I’m standing here tonight,” coach Chris Collins said. “Everybody’s good and everybody competes, and we haven’t been able to put it all together.”

NU has not shot above 40 percent from the field in a second half since a Feb. 6 win over Michigan, in which it shot 45 percent from the floor and 50 percent from deep in the latter period.

The struggles began in a 67-58 overtime loss to Rutgers on Feb. 13, when the Cats shot 27 percent from the field in the second half and went 1-for-8 in the overtime period, and worsened when NU shot a ghastly 12 percent from the floor in Saturday’s loss to Michigan State.

“A lot of time, that’s the fine line (between) winning and losing,” Collins said. “These last three games are very indicative of that. … Against Michigan State, even as good as they are, you’ve got to find a way to close that game. And then tonight, with an 11-point lead early in the second half, you’ve got to dig down and come together and close it out. That’s been the story of a lot of our season.”

The Cats have averaged 6.5 field goals in the second half across their last four games, a low number compared to the 14.3 field goals they have averaged in the first half across those games.

Junior center Dererk Pardon said that the Cats’ priority at this point is to put the past games behind them and work on closing out strong, both in games and in the regular season overall.

“We’re just fighting through it every day,” Pardon said. “Just taking it day by day and never keeping our heads down and always just being able to (say), ‘Alright, let’s move on, and let’s get better.’”

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

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