Northwestern rallies in 2nd half to beat Loyola (Md) 74-59

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Without Alex Olah, Northwestern is going to need a little bit more from the rest of its roster.

On Sunday, Bryant McIntosh delivered.

McIntosh scored a career-high 33 points and Northwestern rallied without Olah to beat Loyola Maryland 74-59 for its ninth straight win.

Scottie Lindsey added 14 points for the Wildcats (12-1), who set a school record with 13 home wins in a row.

But the victory was overshadowed by the news that Olah would miss the game with a left foot injury. More than an hour before the game, Northwestern announced the absence of the senior center, who sat on the Wildcats' bench wearing a walking boot on his left leg.

Northwestern coach Chris Collins said the team would take it ''day by day'' with Olah but confirmed he will miss the Wildcats' Big Ten opener Wednesday at Nebraska.

Collins said Olah was fine after Northwestern's previous game - a win Monday over Sacred Heart - but felt worse in the ensuing days before getting an MRI on Saturday that revealed what Collins called a ''stress reaction.''

''We'll reevaluate after (Wednesday),'' Collins said. ''The main thing is we don't want to do anything that's going to jeopardize. . We've got 18 games left, so if it means we've got to hold him out one or two extra games to get him back healthy, that's what we'll do.''

Olah is averaging 12.8 points, including a team-high 21 points against Sacred Heart to go over 1,000 points for his career.

Without Olah, Loyola took a 9-0 lead to start the game before a Lindsey basket with 14:11 remaining gave Northwestern its first points. The Greyhounds led by as many as 14 during the first half.

Northwestern rallied in the second half and tied it at 42-all with 13:07 remaining on Aaron Falzon's 3-pointer. The Wildcats took their first lead on a McIntosh basket with 11:44 to play. A McIntosh layup with 7:12 to go pushed the Wildcats' advantage to 11 during a half when Northwestern switched to a zone defense and shot 65.6 percent from the field.

''They went zone and we just didn't have an answer for it,'' Loyola coach G.G. Smith said. ''I thought the turning point in the game was not that we couldn't score against the zone - we couldn't get any stops.''

Loyola (1-10), which lost its eighth straight, was led by Andre Walker's 15 points and Franz Rassman's 11.

''Basically, you just can't get too high on a lead,'' Walker said. ''A lead is never safe, especially playing a Big Ten team.''

Northwestern matched the school's best 13-game start, equaling the 1930-31 season. The Wildcats' 12th regular-season win against non-conference opponents also matched a school mark, tying the 2009-10 team.

They'll have to carry that strong play into the conference season without two projected preseason starters. Vic Law hasn't played and will miss the entire season because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

''Going forward, we just talked about how the next guy up has to step up, and we all have to kind of collectively pick up what he brought to the table, which is going to be tough just because he did so much for us,'' McIntosh said.

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TIP-INS

Loyola: Sunday was Loyola's second game against a team from a power conference this season, following its Dec. 1 loss at Kansas. . The Greyhounds were on the road for the fifth time in six games.

Northwestern: The Wildcats improved to 2-0 all-time against Loyola. The previous meeting was a 66-60 win on Dec. 27, 2006 at Northwestern.

MAKING THE DECISION

With Olah out, Northwestern took the redshirt off freshman center Dererk Pardon, who scored six points in 23 minutes. Pardon said he talked to his family about the choice, but it was ultimately his decision to play.

''I felt like I'd let my team down if I didn't take off the redshirt,'' Pardon said. ''I wanted to be with those guys and live in this moment.''

UP NEXT

Loyola Maryland plays Wednesday at home against American.

Northwestern plays at Nebraska on Wednesday.

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