Northwestern picked up by far its best win of the season Sunday, outlasting No. 7 Wisconsin 66-59 at the Kohl Center.
In the wake of its worst loss of the season to Illinois at home on Tuesday, Northwestern picked up its second win against ranked competition this year, a desperately needed quality victory.
Northwestern started the game cold on offense, but the first half may have been their best defensive half all season long. The ‘Cats forced eight Wisconsin turnovers in the half, and they were eventually able to capitalize on the extra possessions.
After getting down by seven points early, Nathan Taphorn, starting in the place of Scottie Lindsey (illness), hit a pair of threes for Northwestern to cap a 16-0 run. This gave the Wildcats a nine-point lead, which they carried into halftime.
Bryant McIntosh led the team with 11 points and two assists at halftime. Despite being scoreless in the first half, Sanjay Lumpkin helped set the tone defensively with two steals and three boards. He finished the game with nine points, five boards and two steals.
Northwestern continued to force Wisconsin into making mistakes, and McIntosh was able to carry the offense to victory. In two crucial moments with under two minutes to go, he scored a floater and then dished an alley-oop layup to Lumpkin to seal the game. McIntosh finished with 25 points, seven assists and seven rebounds on a career high 23 shots.
Dererk Pardon was crashing the offensive glass all game. He led the team with four offensive rebounds, grabbing a total of eight boards on the night. He and Vic Law helped lead the defensive effort, contributing two steals and a block apiece.
With the win, Northwestern moves to 19-6 (8-4 B1G) on the year. Their next game comes at home Wednesday against No. 21 Maryland, who is 20-3 overall on the year.