By: Jonathan Skinner
ROSEMONT, IL — A stingy defensive effort and dominance on the boards propelled Northwestern to an 83-60 win over Minnesota on Wednesday.
The Wildcats used full-court presses and zone defenses from the beginning of the game. The pressure never allowed Minnesota to get into a rhythm on offense. Missed Minnesota shots and turnovers turned into Northwestern rebounds and points.
“We tried some new things on the floor,” coach Chris Collins said about the Wildcats altered defensive perspective. “Sometimes you do something new and it gives the guys a little life.”
Bryant McIntosh has been full of life ever since his injury scare only a few games ago. McIntosh finished the game with 11 points and a school single-game record 16 assists, the previous record of 14 assists was held by Pat Baldwin.
McIntosh’s ability to facilitate led to big nights for Scottie Lindsey, Aaron Falzon, and Dererk Pardon, with all scoring in double digits. Pardon had 13 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, his third double-double of the season.
On the Minnesota side, their two top scorers, Nate Mason and Jordan Murphy, both battled foul trouble and were bottled up all night long. The duo combined for 17 points on 4-14 shooting, and this game was the first all season in which Murphy did not record a double-double.
The Wildcats also took advantage of the absence of Minnesota’s Amir Coffey and Reggie Lynch. With Lynch gone, Northwestern was able to outrebound Minnesota by 19 with Pardon leading the ‘Cats with 12 total rebounds. Northwestern will look to keep this defensive intensity going into their next game at Indiana on Sunday.