No nerves for Bryant McIntosh this time around. Just a solid all-around performance against his family’s other favorite team.
McIntosh had 21 points and eight assists, Sanjay Lumpkin scored 15 points and surging Northwestern beat Indiana 68-55 on Sunday.
“Just really proud of McIntosh,” coach Chris Collins said. “I thought he controlled the game.”
The Wildcats (18-4, 7-2) held the Hoosiers to 32 percent shooting in their sixth consecutive victory. It’s their longest Big Ten win streak since the 1932-33 team matched a school record with seven in a row, and their 7-2 start in conference play is their best since the 1937-38 season.
Heady stuff for a program that has never made it to the NCAA Tournament. But it sure looks as if this might be the year for the Wildcats.
“This isn’t the same Northwestern,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh, a junior guard from Greensburg in southeast Indiana, struggled in his only matchup with the Hoosiers last season, scoring four points on 2-for-12 shooting in an 89-57 loss at Assembly Hall last January. But he was much better this time around, going 7 for 13 from the field.
“Last year I just felt really jittery. … I just wanted to play well and got caught up in the emotion of that and not just playing the game,” McIntosh said. “So this year I was just focused on trying to help my team win.”
Indiana (14-8, 4-5) committed 13 turnovers while playing without leading scorer James Blackmon Jr., who got hurt during Thursday night’s 90-60 loss at Michigan. The school announced Saturday the junior guard is out indefinitely with a lower leg injury.
Blackmon, who is averaging 17.6 points, joins an impressive list of hurt Hoosiers, with forwards Collin Hartman and OG Anunoby already shelved by knee injuries.
“It’ll be just what we said yesterday and we’ll see how it goes,” coach Tom Crean said when asked for an update on Blackmon.
Northwestern missed its first seven shots and fell behind 10-1 before grabbing control with a 20-2 run. Lumpkin had a steal and a dunk, and Nathan Taphorn scored five straight points to make it 21-12 with 7:49 left.
The Wildcats were never threatened again. They led 35-23 at the break, and McIntosh’s 3-pointer stretched the advantage to 56-38 with 7:28 left.
“All we did was just miss shots,” Indiana center Thomas Bryant said. “It was more on us, not so much on the defense although they did play a great game. It falls on us.”
Bryant matched a career high with 23 points and also grabbed 12 rebounds for Indiana, which has split its last six games. Robert Johnson added 12 points on 4-for-13 shooting.
Taphorn left near the end of the first half with an ankle injury.
“I think just a sprained ankle. Certainly we’ll get more tests and all that kind of stuff and figure out how long he’s going to be out,” Collins said.
WILDCATS AND CUBS
Northwestern saluted the World Series champion Chicago Cubs with a highlight video during a first-half timeout, and Cubs owner Tom Ricketts got a huge ovation when he brought the Commissioner’s Trophy out to center court.
Indiana: After Bryant and Johnson, the scoring dropped off significantly for the Hoosiers. De’Ron Davis was next with six points.
Northwestern: Scottie Lindsey scored 12 points, and Vic Law finished with nine points and 12 rebounds.
Indiana plays three of its next four games at home, beginning Wednesday night against visiting Penn State.
Northwestern visits Purdue on Wednesday night. The 17-5 Boilermakers are coming off an 83-80 loss at Nebraska.