Wildcats hope to build on last year's success
The Northwestern University (NU) men’s basketball team is coming off one of its best seasons in recent memory in which the Wildcats reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in school history.
After last season’s success, NU has high hopes going into the 2017-18 season. The Wildcats have four starters returning from last year's team that went 24-12. The 'Cats will be led by senior guard Bryant McIntosh, who averaged 14 points per game and five assists last season. He finished last season with the second-best assist average in the Big Ten. He is a strong free-throw shooter and had an 87 percent average from the stripe last year.
The other starting guard for Northwestern is senior Scottie Lindsey. Last year, Lindsey averaged 14 points per game despite missing games in the second half of the season due to mononucleosis. He also is one of the top defenders on the team and recorded 30 steals last year.
The Wildcats will also be looking to Dererk Pardon to contribute this season. Last year, he ranked fifth in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, with a total of 91 offensive boards. He also ranked second in the conference in field goal percentage with a .611 average.
Northwestern got the season underway Nov. 10 with a 79-75 win over Loyola University. Lindsey led the 'Cats on offense with 26 points. McIntosh also turned in a strong performance, recording 16 points and three steals in the win. Pardon pulled down seven rebounds and added 16 points as well.
In the second game of the season the Wildcats continued its winning ways, knocking off St. Peter’s University 75-66. McIntosh led the team in offense with 17 points and three assists. Gavin Skelly contributed 14 points and six rebounds in the win.
After back-to-back wins, Northwestern fell to Creighton University in the third game of the year by a score of 92-88. Vic Law put up 30 points for the 'Cats on offense and recorded two blocks and one steal. McIntosh once again performed well on the court and flirted with a double-double, scoring 24 points and nine assists. McIntosh shot well from beyond the arc, going 2-3 from 3-point range.
The Wildcats bounced back in the next game, knocking off La Salle University 82-74. McIntosh and Lindsey were Northwestern’s top two scorers, with 21 and 20 points, respectively. McIntosh also recorded seven assists.
Northwestern was unable to string back-to-back wins together, however, and were blown out 85-49 by Texas Tech University. The Red Raiders, who were undefeated at the time dominated much of the game and held the Wildcats to 25 points in the first half. Lindsey was the only 'Cat to break double digits, finishing the game with 20 points
On Dec. 1, the Wildcats will open up Big Ten conference play when the team hosts the University of Illinois. Other key matchups this season include a Dec. 14 game against Valparaiso University, a Feb. 2 game against the University of Michigan and a Feb. 17 game against Michigan State University. The Wildcats will wrap up the regular season Feb. 25 against the University of Iowa.
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