After losing to Merrimack in its first game of the season, host Northwestern rebounded with a big 72-63 nonconference victory over Providence on Wednesday night.
The Wildcats (1-1) were led by freshman center Ryan Young, who had 16 points on 7 of 9 shooting, and junior guard Anthony Gaines, who had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists. The Friars (2-1) took almost half of their shots from beyond the arc, hitting 8 of 35.
Northwestern scored the first six points of the game, but Providence rebounded to take a 10-8 lead about five minutes into the contest. However, that was the only Friar lead of the game.
The two teams went back and forth for the next few minutes, but the Wildcats finished the first half on a 12-4 run with Miller Kopp scoring seven points.
The Wildcats entered halftime with a double-digit lead after Gaines was fouled with under two seconds remaining and hit both free throws to go up 40-29.
After the two teams returned from the locker rooms, Northwestern continued its hot streak. The Wildcats went on a 10-2 run in the first three minutes of the half to go up by 19 points.
The Friars went on a 14-point run in the middle of the half, cutting the Northwestern lead to six points. The Wildcats countered with a few baskets of their own, but entered the under-four timeout only up five points.
Northwestern was able to withstand the pressure down the stretch and hit enough free throws to pull out the win.
The Wildcats had 20 turnovers, but Providence was only able to score 23 points off those turnovers.
Northwestern played the game in a 2-2-1 full-court press, 2-3 zone and a 1-3-1 halfcourt zone, which is not its base defense of man-to-man. During the Chris Collins era, the Wildcats have broken out of a zone for a select few games every season.
--Field Level Media