Northwestern came up short offensively against No. 24 Michigan on Monday night at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in a 58-47 defeat.
Northwestern shot just 38% from the field and 25% from three. Most importantly, the ‘Cats turned it over 16 times compared to just five for the Wolverines. The ‘Cats hung around the Wolverines all night and even led early, but never had enough shot-making to win.
Northwestern dropped to 13-10 and and 4-6 in Big Ten play. Michigan improved to 19-6 overall and 6-4 in conference.
It wasn’t a game Northwestern necessarily needed to win to keep its faint hopes of securing an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament alive, but it sure was a missed opportunity for a resume building win.
The ‘Cats have eight more chances to get six or seven wins, and ideally seven. They play Wisconsin and Maryland twice each, and Michigan State, Iowa, Rutgers and Michigan onces. By any stretch of the imagination, it’s more tough sledding from here on out in what has been a frustrating season for Chris Collins and company.
NU generally kept Michigan in check on the night, holding the Maize and Blue to their second lowest scoring output of the season. They shot 42% from the field and 28% from three, but had the defense to overcome a cold night at home.
Scottie Lindsey led all scorers with 15 points on 5-11 shooting. No other Wildcat had more than 10. Bryant McIntosh had six points and five assists on a 3-10 night while Vic Law notched six points and seven rebounds. Dererk Pardon had nine points and seven rebounds and defended his counterpart well, holding Mo Wagner to eight points that mostly came when the game was put away.
Charles Matthews led Michigan with 14 points and seven rebounds, while senior Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman chipped in 11.
Northwestern started the match hot with six different players making the first six field goals. The ‘Cats ran out to a 14-5 lead with their stifling matchup zone giving the Wolverines fits.
Michigan started the night 1-12 from behind the three-point arc on a mix of open and contested shots, but rallied back with a 10-0 run to take the lead at 21-19 with 1:50 to go in the first half on a three from Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.
Northwestern finished the first half on a 7:05 scoring drought, and ended the frame with eight turnovers to Michigan’s four. Lindsey led all scorers with seven points at the break while Robinson had six, despite going 0-5 from three.
The Wolverines started the second half brightly and pushed out to a 26-19 lead. Lindsey finally broke the drought for Northwestern after being fouled on a three-point play, and he was the first on the night to hit double-digits.
Michigan regressed to the mean in terms of its long-ball shooting and made four of its first seven from downtown. Northwestern hung tough and never let the lead grow more than eight in the first ten minutes of the second half, cutting it to 39-35 with 10:40 to play on a Lindsey stepback three.
The Wildcat offense dried up once more after that, however, and Michigan seized a ten point lead at 48-38 with just over five minutes to play. Buoyed by the crowd at the Crisler Center, the Wolverines didn’t look back and closed out the game with the ‘Cats never closer than an arm’s length.
Northwestern is back in action on Thursday night when it heads to Madison, Wisconsin to face a 10-12 Badger team that has struggled this season. For any hopes of postseason basketball, the Wildcats must win at the Kohl Center.