By Adam Braunstein
If you have been to Welsh-Ryan arena to see the ‘Cats recently, you know that the team comes out to the song “Power” by Kanye West, but this season could best be described by a different Kanye rap: “Amazing.”
With Sunday evening’s 68-55 victory over the defending Big Ten Champions, Chris Collins’ squad continues to silence its doubters and improves to 18-4 on the year and 7-2 in conference.
With talk of Northwestern making the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history continuing to grow, Collins said one of his biggest worries is that the extra attention may hurt the team.
“I understand the fine line between winning and losing in this conference and the outside chatter, the noise, soften you up the littlest bit, you get crashed down to reality really quick in this conference,” Collins said after the game.
Vic Law and Scottie Lindsey came into the matchup as Northwestern’s two leading scorers, but the duo was held to just 8-26 from the floor. Junior guard and team captain Bryant McIntosh led the way, scoring 21 points and dishing out 8 assists against an Indiana team that shut him down last year in Bloomington.
McIntosh, who said he had roughly ten family members and friends in the stands for tonight’s game, admitted to feeling different in this matchup against the Hoosiers.
“Last year I just felt really jittery,” said McIntosh. “This year I was just focused on trying to help my team win.”
While it would be unfair to not mention that Indiana was without their leading scorer, James Blackmon Jr., the ‘Cats defense was nonetheless stifling. In front of a raucous sold-out crowd, Northwestern limited Indiana, who came into tonight averaging a Big Ten leading 83 points per game, to just 55.
Senior captain Sanjay Lumpkin said the crowd was a big factor tonight in helping the ‘Cats slow down Indiana’s offensive attack.
“Students were unbelievable tonight. It’s been an unbelievable atmosphere the last couple of home games,” Lumpkin said.
Northwestern will have a few days off, but will face a very tough test Wednesday as they travel to West Lafayette to take on the Purdue Boilermakers and continue to build their way towards making program history.
“It’s going to be really special, and I really believe that we are good enough to,” McIntosh said. “We have to make sure this is over, that this isn’t the same Northwestern.”