Northwestern’s first appearance in the AP Top 25 in eight years looks like it will be a brief one.
The No. 25 Wildcats (18-5, 7-3 Big Ten), without leading scorer Scottie Lindsey, ran into a fired-up Purdue team and were shot out of Mackey Arena on Wednesday night. No. 23 Purdue (18-5, 7-3) shot 48 percent from the field and hit 12 three-pointers in a dominant 80-59 win.
National Player of the Year candidate Caleb Swanigan led Purdue with 24 points and 16 rebounds. Vince Edwards scored 17 points on five triples and Dakota Mathias added 13.
Bryant McIntosh paced Northwestern with 22 points but needed 19 shots to get there without his usual backcourt partner. Chris Collins’ team as a whole shot just 35 percent from the field and 2-of-14 from three-point range. Sanjay Lumpkin did play well, with nine points, seven rebounds and two steals.
With no Lindsey to worry about, Purdue was able to key in on Vic Law defensively, holding him to just one point. McIntosh and Isiah Brown were forced to put up lots of inefficient shots late in the shot clock because the ball wasn’t moving as well as it usually does.
On defense, the Wildcats’ Dererk Pardon-Barret Benson-Gavin Skelly frontcourt was no match for the size and talent of Swanigan and Isaac Haas, who posted 11 points and four rebounds off the bench. Purdue spaced the floor extremely well with its shooters — especially Edwards — around its bigs, and those shooters hardly missed all night.
Brown stepped into the starting lineup in Lindsey’s absence and scored 11 points on just 4-of-14 shooting.
Pardon got things going offensively for Northwestern, hitting his first two shots to get the visitors out to a quick 4-0 lead.
Foul trouble was an issue all game against Purdue’s twin towers. After Pardon picked up a quick foul, Benson came in and was matched up with the 7’2” Haas. Unsurprisingly, the true freshman picked up two fouls of his own. Six of Northwestern’s seven main players would finish the game with at least three fouls.
Benson departed shortly after hitting two free throws to put the Wildcats up 10-9. It would be their last lead of the game. Purdue ran off a 12-0 run on four threes, showing how dangerous it is when the ball is moving around the perimeter.
The Boilermakers’ three-point shooting would be the story of the first half. Edwards, who knocked down two of the four threes in that early run, hit consecutive triples again later in the half. Purdue as a team hit eight of its first 12 attempts from beyond the arc and 9-of-14 in the first half.
Northwestern, meanwhile, struggled mightily on offense for most of the half. The Wildcats didn’t make a single three before the break. It all added up to a commanding 45-23 Purdue lead at halftime.
McIntosh and the Wildcats battled hard in the second half, outscoring Purdue 36-35 over the final 20 minutes, but could never mount a legitimate comeback effort. They got cut the Boilermakers’ lead to 14 at one point, yet weren’t able to string together enough stops — or buckets — down the stretch.
Northwestern returns to Welsh-Ryan Arena to take on Illinois next Tuesday.
- This was always going to be a tough matchup for Northwestern, even with a healthy Scottie Lindsey. However, Lindsey’s shooting ability and defensive length would’ve almost certainly helped a lot during Purdue’s late-first half tear in which the Wildcats gave up far too many open threes.
- Barret Benson had a solid game in a difficult individual spot. In just 10 minutes, Benson scored a career-high eight points and grabbed three rebounds.
- The Wildcats hung with Purdue for the first five minutes and the entire second half, but the last 15 minutes of the first half were horrible on both ends.