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Northwestern-Bryant FINAL SCORE: In spite of Bryant run, Wildcats roll to a 86-66 win

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Northwestern fought off a second-half Bryant run to improve to 4-2 on the season.

NCAA Basketball: Eastern Washington at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern remained unbeaten at home, defeating Bryant 86-66 Friday. Despite an early run from the Bulldogs to open the second half, the Wildcats cruised to an easy win, leading for all but 46 seconds.

Despite some uneven shooting in the first half, Northwestern still got out to a healthy 21-point lead in large part due to its defense. The Wildcats forced the Bulldogs into seven turnovers before the break, leading to 11 points on the other end.

Offensively, Northwestern started hot but quickly cooled off. After making three of their first five three pointers, the Wildcats missed 10 of their next 12 looks from downtown. Bryant McIntosh struggled more than anyone, going scoreless in the first half.

Still, it seemed like Northwestern would coast to a victory. However, Bryant opened the second half with eight unanswered points, forcing Chris Collins to call an early timeout. After scoring 10 points in the first half, The Bulldogs’ Nisre Zouzoua scored 14 of Bryant’s first 16 points after the break to get his team back in the game.

The Bulldogs were able to cut the Wildcats’ lead to three, but a string of misses and turnovers allowed Northwestern to get out on the break, extending the lead back to 14 thanks to back-to-back dunks from Dererk Pardon (who finished with 10 boards) and Scottie Lindsey. With the half-court offense struggling to produce, scoring in transition became a priority. The Wildcats scored 21 points off of turnovers.

Lindsey and Vic Law continued to spark the offense, scoring a combined 44 points on efficient shooting (63.3 and 56.3 percent from behind the arc, respectively). Gavin Skelly provided a boost off the bench, scoring a career-high 15 points. After missing all five of his threes in the first half, McIntosh started attacking the basket more after the break, finishing with eight points on 3-for-11 shooting.

Up next, the Wildcats continue their five-game home stand on Monday against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-1).

Takeaways

  • McIntosh’s cold start to the season continued today. Through six games, he’s shooting 34.9 percent from the field and a paltry 20.8 percent from three. If Northwestern wants to compete in the Big Ten, it’ll need McIntosh to find his stroke.
  • Northwestern dominated in the paint, outscoring Bryant, 36-18. After shooting less than 30 percent from three in the first half, the Wildcats focused on getting to the rim after the break. For a team that lacks individual shot creation, shot selection is of the utmost importance.
  • On the other end, Northwestern’s rim protection was impressive, recording twelve blocks. Considering Dererk Pardon is only 6-foot-8, the Wildcats have to feel good about how their defense has held up this season.