Northwestern plays like 2017 in knocking off No. 20 Michigan
ROSEMONT – Moments like this were a little more commonplace a year ago, when they were the darlings of College Basketball.
Not so much anymore. Now Northwestern is in the middle of the pack with a number of Big Ten and National teams in need of a major late season run if they hope to go dancing in just over a month. Following their first NCAA Tournament appearance last Winter, it’s been nothing but inconsistency for the Wildcats in their follow-up campaign.
But for a brief moment – and maybe not the last of this season – Chris Collins’ team turned the clocks back a year in a performance more emblematic of 2017 than 2018.
A strong second half, which has escaped Northwestern a few times this year, came through against No. 20 Michigan at Allstate Arena Tuesday to produce the team’s biggest win of the year so far. The 61-52 win is the first over a ranked opponent for the Wildcats in a night more reminiscent of the great times of a year ago.
After losing a first half lead in a dismal second half against the Wolverine in Ann Arbor just eight days earlier, Northwestern was the one who closed the game with the momentum. Vic Law’s three pointer 2:48 into the second half gave the Wildcats a 35-33 and they continued to build it from there.
In the final ten minutes the Wildcats pulled away thanks to Bryant McIntosh, whose jumper with 3:43 remaining pushed the Northwestern lead to ten in adding to his game-high 24 points. Scottie Lindsey finished off his 19 point night with a trio of free throws in the final seconds to give the team their first “upset” of the 2017-2018 season.
Of course, that comes just now in February. It’s easily the Wildcats’ best win of the year in a season which they now are sporting a 15-10 record. But with a lack of quality victories, Northwestern is facing the prospect of possibly having to win their final six games of the Big Ten season then a few games in the conference tournament to impress the committee.
That’s a worry for another day for the moment for the Wildcats, who got a taste of success on Tuesday that was there a bit more often just a year ago.