By: Adam Braunstein
West Lafayette, Indiana- In a matchup between two closely ranked Big Ten teams, 25th-ranked Northwestern was outmatched in every phase of the game and suffered an 80-59 road defeat at the hands of 23rd-ranked Purdue in boisterous Mackey Arena. Here are some notes:
- Northwestern’s leading scorer, Scottie Lindsey, missed the game with an illness. Freshman Isiah Brown starter in Lindsey’s place and for the most part struggled to fill the void. While Brown made some brilliant plays, his overall performance was fairly weak, knocking down just 23% of his field goals while turning the ball over twice. Northwestern has six days off before their next game, so it will be interesting to see what adjustments to the shooting guard position are made if Lindsey remains sidelined.
- Defensively, the ‘Cats were absolutely torched from behind the arc. Purdue shot it at an electric 52.2% clip from deep, causing the crowd to erupt each time. Vincent Edwards led the way for the Boilers, hitting five of seven from downtown. Northwestern had no choice but to give up open 3’s since the Wildcats were forced to double team Purdue’s big men down low. On offense, Northwestern was unable to match Purdue’s hot shooting, as the Wildcats made only two of their 14 three-point attempts.
- Speaking of big men, Northwestern’s post players were thoroughly overmatched by all-conference post player Caleb Swanigan. Swanigan is listed at 6’9, 250lbs, and neither Dererk Pardon nor Barret Benson nor any combination of double teams could slow him down. Swanigan finished the evening with 24 points and 16 rebounds while shooting an impressive 64% from the field
- If you had to find a bright spot, it would have to be that Bryant McIntosh turned in another solid performance. McIntosh has struggled shooting the ball for most of the season, but looked better tonight (contributing a team-high 22 points) and in NU’s last game against Indiana. McIntosh has delivered three 20-point performance in his last five games after scoring 20 or more in only three of the Wildcats’ first 18 contests. If Lindsey continues to miss time, Northwestern will need McIntosh to continue his hot shooting.
Northwestern (18-5, 7-3 Big Ten) returns to action Tuesday at Welsh-Ryan Arena against the Illinois Fighting Illini (13-10, 3-7 B1G).