EVANSTON, Ill. — A run to save the season, potentially.
After starting the game 4-of-20 from three-point range, the Wildcats used the long ball to their advantage, mounting a remarkable 25-0 second half run and erasing a 15-point deficit to escape a pesky DePaul team, 75-68.
That massive NU run in the latter part of the second half swung the momentum the Wildcats’ way after DePaul looked poised to win the game with a 57-42 lead with 9:48 to go. A Ryan Taylor three-pointer with five minutes left to play gave Northwestern their first lead of the entire game at 58-57 and Northwestern never looked back.
The story of the day, though, was A.J. Turner, who had his best game in a Northwestern uniform, scoring a career-high 24 points, including six threes.
Vic Law had another strong offensive showing for the Wildcats, adding a game-high 25 points of his own, 16 of which came in the second half. Dererk Pardon was outplayed for most of the game by Blue Demons big man Femi Olujobi, but seven of Pardon’s 10 points came after the break, when NU outscored DePaul 46-27.
Olujobi finished with 22 points on the afternoon, but the Blue Demons shot just 28.1 percent in the second half after making 58 percent of their field goals in the first half.
The Blue Demons jumped out to a quick start in the opening minutes of the game, taking an early 14-4 lead against an NU team that didn’t look like they came ready to play. The Wildcat offense struggled out of the gates, making just two of its first ten shots to start the contest and missing its first eight three-pointers as well.
DePaul clung to comfortable lead throughout the majority of the first half, and a 6-0 Blue Demon run to close the first half allowed them to extend their lead to double digits heading into halftime. Northwestern didn’t score in the final 2:57 minutes of the half and saw itself trailing 41-29 after the first 20 minutes of action. The Wildcats lacked energy on both ends of the court for most of the game’s first 20 minutes.
In the middle of the second half, however, Northwestern exploded. The defense was tighter. The transition offense got going. The threes started to fall. And Northwestern, with a potentially-devastating loss looking inevitable, responded — and then some. NU built a 10-point lead during the run, and, while DePaul made it closer at the end, that was all Chris Collins & Co. needed.
Northwestern returns to the court on Dec. 17 to face Chicago State at home.