Law, Northwestern avoid near-upset to Chicago State

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) Perhaps prematurely looking ahead to its marquee weekend, Northwestern nearly stumbled into a crushing midweek upset.

The Wildcats needed several clutch baskets late Wednesday night to overcome a second-half deficit and defeat Chicago State 68-64.

Vic Law led Northwestern (8-2) with 18 points, Sanjay Lumpkin had 11 rebounds and the Wildcats edged the Cougars for their fifth straight victory.

''Every time we started to get a little momentum, they came right back at us,'' Northwestern head coach Chris Collins said. ''Every time we threw a punch, they came with a counterpunch.''

Fred Sims Jr. and Trayvon Palmer led Chicago State (3-7) with 22 and 18 points, respectively. They sparked a 20-6 run that left the Cougars ahead 52-50 with 8:06 remaining.

Northwestern, which led by 14 at one point, jumped back ahead 54-52 with 6:07 remaining on Bryant McIntosh's jumper, giving the Wildcats a lead they would not relinquish.

The win capped a perfect five-game homestand for the Wildcats, whose next game will be at the United Center in Chicago as part of the State Farm Chicago Legends. Illinois, BYU and Dayton are the other participants.

''I don't want to say we disrespected them because we didn't,'' Collins said when asked whether his team overlooked the Cougars. ''We prepared. But was our energy the same as it's been in other games? I think we had some critical breakdowns tonight.''

Anthony Eaves' 3-pointer with 46 seconds remaining moved Chicago State within three, but Northwestern scored on its next possession to secure the victory.

''When you play a seasoned team, they're going to find a way to win,'' Chicago State head coach Tracy Dildy said. ''And we just haven't gotten there. When they needed a basket, they got that basket.''

The Cougars converted a season-best 13 3-pointers, and outrebounded Northwestern 40-33.

McIntosh finished with 14 points and seven assists, and Scottie Lindsey scored 13.

Northwestern is 11-0 all-time against Chicago State. The Wildcats set a season-high with 27 3-point attempts.

Northwestern, which ranked among the Big Ten's leaders with a plus-2.4 turnover margin entering the night, held a 12-0 halftime advantage in that category, but was minus-4 in the second half.

A NIGHT OF MILESTONES

Lumpkin achieved several landmarks in Wednesday's game, starting both his 100th career game at Northwestern and recording his 500th career rebound.

NOT QUITE NO. 1

Dildy, in his seventh year as head coach of the Cougars, remains tied with Bob Hallberg for the most Division-I wins at Chicago State. His record with the Cougars is 49-152.

BIG PICTURE

Chicago State: The Cougars are in the midst of a 12-game road swing that will take them through the calendar year. The Cougars, who will not return home until Jan. 5, are 1-5 through six games of the trip.

Northwestern: The Wildcats finished their season-long homestand unblemished. The Wildcats, who do not open Big Ten play until Dec. 27 at Penn State, have won their last 19 nonconference home games.

UP NEXT

Chicago State: On the road against DePaul on Saturday.

Northwestern: Will face Dayton in Chicago on Saturday.

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