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Northwestern wins 20 regular season games for first time in program history

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The program has had 20 victories before, but only with the help of postseason tournaments.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

With its 65-54 win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Sunday afternoon, the Northwestern men's basketball program won its 20th game of the 2015-16 regular season, a program record.

This is the third time in school history the team has eclipsed the 20-win mark, but those two other times — the 2009-10 and 2010-11 campaigns — were aided by victories in the Big Ten Tournament and NIT.

In order to reach the 20-win mark, the Wildcats went 12-1 in nonconference play. But, due to a slide in which it lost seven of nine in Big Ten action, Northwestern needed to win five of its final eight games to get to 8-10 in conference and 20-11 overall.

Northwestern won 19 games back in the 2011-12 season, capping a streak of three-straight 19-plus-win seasons for former coach Bill Carmody, whose time in Evanston ended in 2013. Prior to the Carmody era, the program hadn't won 17 games since the 1982-83 season, when Rich Falk was the coach.

With the win Saturday, Northwestern clinched 9th place in the Big Ten. The Wildcats will play Michigan, the 8-seed, Thursday at 11 a.m. CT at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.