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What We Learned: Northwestern Wildcats 82, La Salle Explorers 74

What are some takeaways from the Wildcats bounce back win?

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Maryland at Northwestern Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a tough loss against Creighton Wednesday night, Northwestern bounced back Saturday night. The now 3-1 Wildcats controlled most of their afternoon tilt against La Salle, ultimately winning 82-74. Now the Wildcats will play for an early season trophy in the Hall of Fame Tip Off Tournament. The quick two round tourney matches Northwestern and Texas Tech for bragging rights tomorrow.

The game was fairly decisive with the Wildcats controlling the scoreboard for most of the game. A few big Explorer runs kept the game semi-interesting until the final horn rang out. Here are a few things we learned from this afternoon’s contest.

What We Learned

1. Bryant McIntosh continues to etch his name into Wildcats history

By halftime of the game on Saturday the senior guard had become the 12th leading scorer in school history. McIntosh passed Shon Morris, who racked up 1,407 points in his Wildcats career. Northwestern’s all-time leading scorer is John Shurma with 2.038 total points accrued.

McIntosh will certainly continue to climb the ranks of Northwestern’s scoring list. There is a high possibility he gets into at least the top-five by the end of this season. Taking into account McIntosh’s previous seasons, it would take an above average scoring season to even be in the conversation with Shurma. However, it seems like he will at least flirt with the career 1,900 point mark.

He may come up shy of the school scoring record, but McIntosh has already put his name into the “greatest Wildcats ever” conversation. If he continues to play at a high level, it would be hard to deny him a spot in the “greatest” discussion.

2. This was a deceptively good win for Northwestern.

Listen, it is easy to look at the box score of this game and say Northwestern “should have won” this game. That assumption is not entirely off base, but let’s not write off La Salle so quickly. The Explorers came into the game 3-0 with three solid victories. One of the wins was a 21 point stomping of Saint Peter’s, a team Northwestern only beat by nine on Monday.

Not only that, but La Salle also defeated the third best (by KenPom standards) Ivy League school in Penn. Do not be fooled by the opponent or box score, the Wildcats were tested in this game. Northwestern should be proud of this win.

3. The Wildcats may have kindled a three-point shooting hot streak.

Coming into tonight’s game, Northwestern was shooting 35 percent from three as a team. That is a fairly decent clip, but given the great shooting talent they have, it seemed a little low. However it seems that a possible hot streak may have began this afternoon.

Northwestern shot 57 percent from deep tonight in their win. They were paced by Scottie Lindsey (4-7 from three), Bryant McIntosh (5-6 from three), and Aaron Falzon (3-5 from three) today. Especially heading into the second game of a back-to-back, a high three-point percentage has to let Chris Collins rest a little easier tonight. One would certainly hope that this hot shooting would translate to tomorrow’s game against the Red Raiders.

Overall

As stated above, this was a solid win against a decent Atlantic-10 opponent. Coming off a loss that possibly pushed them outside the top-25, a rebound win like this has to feel good. It will be even sweeter if Northwestern is able to bring home some hardware from this tip-off tournament tomorrow.

That being said, this win tonight surely provides some momentum moving forward. This is is especially important with two Big Ten games lurking around the Wildcats in early December. A win over La Salle moves their needle forward after losing a little steam on Wednesday.