Monday, February 13, 2017

Defense, Bryant McIntosh's 25 Points Lead Northwestern Upset of #7 Wisconsin

College Hoops Player of the Day for Sunday, February 12, 2017

Since North Carolina topped Wisconsin back on November 23, the Badgers had won 11 straight home games.

That was until Northwestern, and junior guard Bryant McIntosh, showed up on Sunday and dismantled the Wisconsin game plan, forcing 12 turnovers and limiting the #7 Badgers to just 7-for-19 (37%) shooting from three-point range.

Overall, it was Northwester's sprawling, clogging defense that took the initiative, while a game-high and season-high 25 points from McIntosh drove the offense. The 6'3" guard from Greensburg, Indiana, was 10-for-23, hit all four of his free throw attempts and had seven assists and seven rebounds. Doing his best imitation of a one-man wrecking crew, McIntosh played all 40 minutes in the 66-59 Wildcat victory that wasn't really as close as the score suggests.

Northwestern was down 17-10 midway through the first half but went on a 21-5 run to finish up 31-22 at the break. The streak included five three-pointers by Northwestern, including one by McIntosh that completed the first half scoring.

Wisconsin held Northwestern scoreless for the first four minutes of the second half, forging a 32-31 advantage, but the Wildcats quickly regained the lead and maintained it for the remainder of the game. The Badgers cut the lead to four points on a couple of occasions, but when Northwestern took a 60-50 lead with 1:16 remaining, the Badgers' first conference home loss was all but confirmed.

The win upped Northwestern's record to 19-6 and 8-4 in the Big Ten. They're two games behind Wisconsin in the conference standings, behind Maryland and Purdue, both 9-3.

Wisconsin remains in first place with a 10-2 conference mark. They are 21-5 overall and a no doubter to be headed to the NCAA tourney in March. Northwestern may have punched its own ticket with an impressive road win.

The wildcats face another big test when Maryland comes calling on Wednesday in the only meeting of the regular season between the two Big Ten foes.

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