Northwestern powers past Indiana 72-65
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Northwestern could easily have written off the season after a 10-game losing streak extended into February.
Instead, the Wildcats are reaping rewards of a modest but real revival that included Wednesday's 72-65 victory over Indiana.
''It would have been real easy to say, `You know what? Let's wait `til next year,''' Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. ''(But) we really wiped the slate clean. . (Now) we're playing well. The guys are confident. There's nothing like winning. It builds confidence.''
Junior guard Tre Demps scored 23 points in the Wildcats' fourth straight win and sparked a decisive second half run.
Alex Olah had 17 points and 11 rebounds while Vic Law added 14 points as the Wildcats (14-14, 5-10 Big Ten) beat the Hoosiers for the third straight time over two seasons.
Troy Williams collected 21 points and 14 rebounds, Nick Zeisloft had 12 points, while Robert Johnson and Kevin (Yogi) Ferrell had 11 apiece for Indiana (19-10, 9-7), which has lost two of three and three of its last five.
Northwestern used a 13-0 second half run to take command and opened a 62-48 lead with 4:09 to play.
Indiana missed 10 straight shots in the same span until Williams' fast break layup with 3:17 to play.
''We look like we were getting ready to set a 3-point record in the first half and then the same things weren't there in the second,'' Indiana coach Tom Crean said. ''Our team has been resilient but one thing we've got to learn is that when the shots are not falling you've got to find a way to win. You cannot be driven and distracted when the shots aren't going.''
After trailing by as many as 14 points the Hoosiers crept to within five with 17 seconds left but got no closer.
Indiana was 9 for 14 on first half 3-point shots as the teams played to a 40-40 halftime deadlock. Zeisloft hit 4-for-5 from beyond the arc for 12 points.
Northwestern mixed inside and outside shooting and shot 51.7 percent (15-for-29) for first half. Law had 11 points- including two 3-pointers - while Olah worked inside for 10 points.
Olah also had a block midway through the first half, giving him a school record 137.
Demps scored nine unanswered points in a span of 3:35 in the second half as Northwestern opened a 58-48 advantage with 9:27 showing.
''I think our mindset right now is we're humble but we're hungry,'' Demps said. ''We're not satisfied with where we're at. We've got a lot of ground to cover after a 10-game losing streak. I think everybody's bought in.''
Indiana: Junior guard Yogi Ferrell is among 17 finalists for the 2015 Bob Cousy Collegiate Point Guard of the year and hit three 3-point shots to extend his streak of hitting at least one 3-pointer to 58 games, the longest active streak in the nation.
Northwestern: Forward Vic Law was named Big Ten freshman of the week this week after averaging 13 points and 7.5 rebounds in two wins last week, including his first career double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) against Penn State. Law had his third straight double-figure effort (14 points) on Wednesday.
STAT LINE - After hitting 9-for-14 (64.3 percent) 3-point tries in the first half, Indiana hit only three in the second and closed with 12-for-31 (38.7 percent). Northwestern was 25-for-49 for the game (51 percent).
Wednesday's game was the 161st all-time meeting in a series dating back to 1908. The Hoosiers lead 112-49 but the Wildcats have won three of the last four, including a 61-56 victory on Feb. 22, 2014 in Evanston.
BEYOND THE ARC
Indiana entered Wednesday ranked third nationally in 3-point percentage (41.2 percent) and ninth in 3-point field goals made (9.2 per game). The Hoosiers set a school and Big Ten record by hitting 18-of-32 on Feb. 15 against Minnesota.
Indiana hosts Iowa on March 3.
Northwestern is at Illinois on Feb. 28, hosts Michigan on March 3.