Bryant McIntosh was due for a game like this. After shooting 6-for-29 in his previous two outings, McIntosh found his touch as Northwestern defeated Wake Forest 65-58 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge Monday night.
“That’s the guy we know,” head coach Chris Collins said after the game. “For him to bounce back from a couple tough games and play the way he did in the second half, we needed all of it.”
McIntosh led the way for the Wildcats with 23 points. Scottie Lindsey added 12 and Gavin Skelly had another good game off the bench with 11 points and six rebounds. John Collins led the way for Wake Forest with 12 points and 16 rebounds.
Despite getting off to a shaky start, Northwestern tied the game at 16 midway through the first half. But Lindsey and Vic Law, Northwestern’s top two scorers on the season, went to the bench with two early fouls each and Wake Forest took advantage, going on a 10-0 run to go ahead 24-18.
Northwestern was able to fight their way back, thanks in part to the play of Skelly, who scored 7 points in the first half on 3-for-4 from the field. The Wildcats answered back with a 10-0 run of their own to go ahead 26-24, but still trailed by one at halftime after a three-pointer by Keyshawn Woods, who scored 12 points for Wake Forest.
That’s when McIntosh caught fire. He hit all eight of his shots and scored 19 of his season-high 23 points in the second half alone, including a stretch of ten straight points for the Wildcats near the end of the game before Sanjay Lumpkin’s two layups sealed it.
“It’s nice,” McIntosh said after the game, still bleeding from a shot he took to the mouth in the second half. “I put a lot of pressure on myself. I want to play so well because I want to win and I want to play well for my team.”
Wake Forest entered play averaging 84 points per game, so to hold them to 58 was a credit to Northwestern’s defense, which forced 19 turnovers and held Wake Forest to 24 percent shooting from behind the arc.
“We knew they were going to shoot a lot of threes, that was a key to the game, find the shooters,” said Sanjay Lumpkin, who Collins praised after the game for his all-around effort as well as guarding Collins for most of the second half. “We had some key stops down the stretch. Guys stepped up and made plays. It was a good team effort tonight.”
Northwestern has now won three of its last four games and improves to 5-2.