A day after being left off of the NCAA selection committee’s first preliminary top-16 seed list, the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers were defeated by the visiting Northwestern Wildcats, 66-59.
With the win, the Wildcats (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten) picked up just their second-ever win at the Kohl Center, a venue they most recently won in on Jan. 29, 2014. They did so without leading scorer Scottie Lindsey, who missed his third consecutive game due to illness. Lindsey averages 15.4 points per game, seventh in the Big Ten.
Northwestern is now one win away from its ninth consecutive win in a Big Ten game, a feat it has not accomplished since 1933 when the Wildcats went 10-2 to tie for a conference title.
Despite the loss, the Badgers (21-4, 10-2) still hold sole possession of first place in the Big Ten, closely followed by No. 21 Maryland and No. 16 Purdue, who each sit at 9-3. Northwestern is currently fourth.
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The Wildcats were paced by Bryant McIntosh, who scored a game-high 25 points. The junior guard also hauled in seven rebounds and contributed seven assists. Vic Law and Dererk Pardon also finished in double-figures with 11 points each.
Wisconsin had four players finish in double-figures, led by Nigel Hayes, who scored 13. Vitto Brown and D’Mitrik Trice scored 11 each, and Zak Showalter chipped in 10 points.
Most notably absent from the list of double-digit scorers were Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig. Happ finished with nine points and seven rebounds, while Koenig finished 1-of-8 from the field and 0-of-5 from behind the arc for two points.
Northwestern took control of the game with a 16-0 run in the first half and limited Wisconsin to only three points in its final 7:54. The Wildcats’ nine-point lead at halftime was the largest deficit the Badgers had faced at home since Feb. 25, 2014, when Wisconsin trailed Indiana 29-19.
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Wisconsin was able to open the second half on a 10-0 run to take a lead 32-31 lead, but it did not last long. Pardon went to the line following a Happ foul and made one of two from the line, knotting the game up at 32-32. Moments later, Law hit a three-pointer to give Northwestern a lead with 15:07 remaining it would not relinquish.
The Badgers were able to get within four points of the Wildcats several times throughout the remainder of the game, the latest coming at 51-47 with 5:38 remaining.
Wisconsin went cold from the field late, as a tip-in by Hayes was the last field goal the Badgers would score prior to a three-pointer by Trice as time expired. Following the tip-in, UW was 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.
McIntosh scored eight of Northwestern’s final 12 points and went 4-of-4 from the free-throw line to close out the victory.
Wisconsin next travels to Ann Arbor on Thursday to face Michigan. The game will begin at 6 p.m. CST and air on ESPN.