ROSEMONT—For a guy who thought his senior season and college career might be over when he injured his left knee not too long ago, Bryant McIntosh sure could appreciate this.McIntosh set a school record with 16 assists, Scottie Lindsey scored 22 points and Northwestern beat short-handed Minnesota 83-60 on Wednesday night.
”When I went down I was in the back and you don’t know if something’s wrong or it’s torn or anything,” McIntosh said. ”You just continue to look at the jersey and realize how special a place I’m at and appreciate it even more. So being able to put it back on and go out and play was so much fun. Tonight, all the joy that we played with was great, incredible. I just don’t want to take it for granted anymore.”
McIntosh was relieved he only had to miss one game after he went down in a win over Brown on Dec. 30. He returned to score 18 in a loss at Penn State last week, and he topped that performance by setting a record in this one.McIntosh broke the previous mark of 14 set by Patrick Baldwin against Youngstown State on Dec. 5, 1992, and he got plenty of hugs on the sideline when he left late in the game. Even better, he said he had a ”really close relationship” with Baldwin when he was an assistant at Northwestern.Dererk Pardon added 13 points and 12 rebounds. Aaron Falzon scored 15, and Northwestern (11-7, 2-3 Big Ten) ran away with an easy win after dropping three of four.Minnesota (13-5, 2-3) struggled on both ends with two of its top players missing and star Jordan Murphy having a quiet game. Suspended center Reggie Lynch faces possible expulsion following sexual assault allegations by two women. Guard Amir Coffey remained sidelined by a shoulder injury and the Gophers dropped their second straight after winning five in a row.Coach Richard Pitino said it ”sure seemed like” the off-the-court issues impacted his team’s performance.
”That’s normal,” he said. ”It’s my job to get them back to having fun. We were playing good basketball and I thought today we certainly looked frustrated with the two technicals and things like that. I’ll get their heads right. It’s my responsibility and I’m looking forward to doing it because they deserve that.”
Dupree McBrayer scored 14 for Minnesota, while Murphy fouled out with eight points and two rebounds after hitting double digits in both categories in each of the first 17 games. McBrayer and Nate Mason each got called for technicals. Murphy and Mason (nine points) both fouled out.The Gophers struggled on defense and got flustered by Northwestern’s zone, shooting just under 31 percent overall while making 8 of 24 3-pointers.The Wildcats went on a big run midway through the first half and took a 43-21 lead to the locker room.Trailing 13-12, Jordan Ash nailed a 3. McIntosh ignited the sparse crowd with an alley-oop to Pardon, then fed him a no-look pass for a dunk, and just like that the Wildcats were rolling.Credit NU’s Gavin Skelly with the most impressive play, even if it wasn’t a smart one.He missed an easy dunk early in the second, hung onto the rim, reached back with one arm and threw down. The basket didn’t count, of course. Skelly got a technical for hanging on the rim and earned the wrath coach Chris Collins said.
”Look, if he misses the dunk it’s fine,” Collins said. ”You’ve just got to be smart enough to know that you can’t do a chin-up. It was very athletic. I’ll give him credit. He showed a lot of dexterity and agility and all those things. But it wasn’t the brightest play.”