File it under “things absolutely no one saw coming.”
Having played in just three games all year (with six points, all against Chicago State), senior wing Aaron Falzon exploded for a career-high 21 points against Indiana on Tuesday night. The Newton, Mass. native went 6-for-7 from beyond the arc, igniting the Welsh-Ryan Arena crowd and leading Northwestern to a 73-66 victory over Indiana. Falzon broke 20 points for just the third time in his career, over three years after last doing so in his freshman year.
Dererk Pardon added 17 points, including scoring his 1000th point on a free throw. AJ Turner and Anthony Gaines led the Wildcats (12-7, 3-5 B1G) with six assists each. The Wildcat defense held Romeo Langford to 12 points, after he scored 20 when Northwestern traveled to Bloomington in December. Juwan Morgan’s 18 points led the Hoosiers (12-7, 3-5), who dropped their fifth straight conference contest.
After a sluggish start to the game, Northwestern bounced back through the hot hand of Falzon. Both teams started slow on the offensive end, with the Wildcats quickly falling behind 14-6. Northwestern began the game having difficulty moving the ball and getting any sort of penetration (sound familiar?), often times settling for contested three pointers. The Cats started 1-for-8 from beyond the arc. In Falzon, Northwestern found their offensive catalyst; he ended the half shooting 3-of-4 from deep and led a 15-4 Northwestern run to give the Wildcats a four-point lead at halftime.
Northwestern continued their end-of-first-half dominance with a 5-0 run to start the second half, contributing to a larger 20-4 run by the Wildcats. A short-lived Indiana comeback five minutes into the second half was quickly quieted by back to back threes from Falzon and Law. The Wildcats extended their lead to 13 on a 12-2 run highlighted by six more Falzon points (including an improbable shooter’s roll).
After the quiet 1-of-8 start from beyond the arc, NU made 9 of its next 11 threes in a stretch spanning the end of the first and early second half. Six of those, of course, belonged to Falzon.
A 13-1 Indiana run cut the Northwestern lead to three late in the game, yet the Wildcats refused to give up, scoring six straight to keep pace. After Falzon’s one-man run, the Wildcats were able to branch out on offense, distributing the ball more evenly later in the game as more space became available and Indiana locked in on Falzon on the perimeter. The NU defense was strong all night, largely avoiding foul trouble and holding Indiana to 4-of-21 from beyond the arc and 38.3% from the field all night.
Northwestern’s next game is at the Kohl Center against Wisconsin on Saturday.