How can we even preface this? It happened. These are the grades.
Bryant McIntosh: B
13 points (6-16 FG, 1-3 3PT), 5 assists, 1 rebound, 4 turnovers, 38 minutes
If I had told you Northwestern was going to win this game the way they did, you would have assumed it would’ve been due to a vintage McIntosh performance. Strangely enough, it wasn’t, and that’s honestly encouraging.
In pure McIntosh fashion, the senior guard played 38 of 40 minutes (giving way to Jordan Ash for two minutes midway through the first half), tallied 13 points and stepped into more of a facilitator role than in recent contests, dishing out five assists in the game. Two missed jumpers in the final 1:10 with the game tied at 65 might’ve come back to haunt him, if not for Taphorn and Pardon’s heroics at the buzzer. He also kicked off an absolutely electric beginning to the second half with a long three pointer out of the break. He wasn’t peak BMac tonight, but, luckily for the Wildcats, he didn’t have to be.
Scottie Lindsey: C-
9 points (2-6 FG, 1-4 3PT, 4-5 FT), 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 turnover, 31 minutes
After registering his best performance since returning from illness against Indiana, Lindsey played 31 minutes tonight and scored 9 points on 33.3 percent shooting (25 percent from deep). Signs point to Lindsey still not being back to full health yet, but he’s contributing and his mere presence on the court adds a wrinkle to how defenses game plan for the team as a whole.
Vic Law: A-
18 points (7-10 FG, 2-4 3PT, 2-2 FT), 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 3 turnovers, 36 minutes
THIS is the type of performance we’ve been waiting for from Law. He shot with an efficiency we haven’t seen since virtually all season and was aggressive offensively from the jump, taking every opportunity possible to get to the rim. He remains an incredibly valuable piece on the defensive side of the ball, as well.
This would be the perfect time of the year for Law to catch fire. Compounding his outstanding physical attributes with any semblance of efficiency and aggressiveness would be instrumental in Northwestern finding success in tournament(s!!!) to come.
Dererk Pardon: A+
9 points (4-5 FG, 1-4 FT), 8 rebounds (2 offensive), 3 assists, 2 blocks, 1 turnover, 25 minutes, the benefactor of the single most important play in Northwestern basketball history
Dererk Pardon. Remember that name. Remember the extra R. It will live on in Northwestern folk lore forever.
It was rather run-of-the-mill game for Pardon with 1.7 remaining in the game. He had 7 points, 8 rebounds, and his consistent energy on the glass and defensively have become calling cards of the sophomore center. But then he did something truly spectacular: he clinched Northwestern its first NCAA Tournament berth in program history (knock on wood). “I guess I have great hands,” he said post-game.
Understatement of the century, Dererk.
Sanjay Lumpkin: B-
2 points (1-2 FG), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 turnovers, 26 minutes
Lumpkin Lumpkin’d. 26 minutes. Physical defense. Two field goal attempts. Two points (a layup to put Northwestern up 65-63 with just under two minutes remaining in the game). He is what he is. Nothing spectacular, everything solid.
Nathan Taphorn: A+
6 points (2-5 FG, 1-2 3PT, 1-1 FT), 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1 touchdown, 13 minutes
Yeah, the turnaround and-one jumper in the first half and corner three midway through the second were fine. But that’s not what Taphorn will be remembered for in this contest.
What he’ll be remembered for is the exact image I will see every time I close my eyes for the next week: him cocking his right arm back and unloading a pinpoint pass directly into the silky smooth hands of Pardon at the other end of the court, who then put up the game-winning layup that I will undoubtedly tell my grandkids about one day. In that moment, Taphorn propelled himself not only to the top of the debate for best moments in the history of Northwestern basketball, he also shot to the top of another hotly contested list:
Best quarterbacks in Northwestern history, ranked:— Inside NU (@insidenu) March 2, 2017
3. Trevor Siemian
2. Otto Graham
1. Nate Taphorn
Just don’t @ us.
Barret Benson: B+
4 points (2-3 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 15 minutes
Benson has shown definitive flashes of being a productive big off the bench for Chris Collins, and this trend continued tonight. With Pardon in foul trouble early, Benson came in, got two tough buckets in the post and forced a shot clock violation with an emphatic swat on a Derrick Walton Jr. floater attempt. It was a good night for the freshman, and it bodes well for Northwestern’s depth that he is playing well when given opportunity.
Gavin Skelly: B+
6 points (3-3 FG, 0-1 FT), 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 turnover, 14 minutes
An efficient night for Skelly (everywhere except the foul line). He gave good energy and a few timely buckets off the bench for a team that has struggled to find production off the pine all season.