Northwestern basketball has a good win to its name.
The Wildcats (15-10, 6-6 Big Ten) defeated the No. 20 Michigan Wolverines (19-7, 8-5) 61-52 at Allstate Arena, erasing an early deficit to earn its biggest win of the year. Bryant McIntosh had his most efficient outing in a while, scoring 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while also posting 5 assists to just 1 turnover. The senior also poured in 14 of his points in the final nine minutes.
Scottie Lindsey, who has been inconsistent with his shot all year, paced Chris Collins's team in the early going en route to a 19-point performance.
After jumping out to an early lead when the two teams faced off Jan. 29, Northwestern fell in a decent-sized hole in the game's opening minutes. The Wildcats didn't score in the first four minutes of play, allowing the Wolverines to build a 13-3 lead at the under-16 timeout.
Dererk Pardon and Scottie Lindsey took the lid off the basket with back-to-back jumpers out of the timeout, but Michigan kept its lead by shooting it well throughout the half. John Beilein's team opened 6-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-6 from three.
Lindsey brought Northwestern back into the game with another three and a two, which, combined with improved perimeter defense, cut the Michigan lead to 21-17 at the under-8.
The end of the half was back-and-forth, but both teams went cold. Northwestern finished the half shooting just 36 percent, compared to 50 percent by Michigan, but the Wildcats trailed just 32-29 at the break.
Northwestern came out of halftime with a renewed energy, going on a 10-0 run after a Gavin Skelly foul early in the half. Vic Law Jr., who went 1-for-7 in the first half, drained a three early in the half, before Pardon dropped in a layup to give NU a 39-33 lead.
The NU zone frustrated Michigan as the game went on, forcing a nine-plus minute field goal drought by the Wolverines midway through the second half. Michigan had a 1-of-8 shooting stretch and a nearly three minute scoring drought in the middle of the half. McIntosh and Lindsey helped NU build an eight-point lead during this period.
Charles Matthews hit a big three to cut Northwestern's lead to five with under three minutes to play, but a pair of free throws and an isolation layup from McIntosh pushed NU past the finish line.