ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — Scottie Lindsey scored five of his game-high 22 points in overtime and Northwestern trailed for much of the evening before pulling out a 72-68 victory over Illinois on Friday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Vic Law added 16 points before fouling out in overtime and Bryant McIntosh had 14 points and six assists for Northwestern (5-3).
Leron Black led Illinois (6-2) with 15 points, whle Te’Jon Lucas and Mark Alstork had 14 points apiece.
Lindsey, the Wildcats’ second-leading scorer this season, did not start after going 0 for 8 from the floor in Northwestern’s 52-51 loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.
His two free throws with 59 seconds left broke a 68-68 tie. Dererk Pardon had two key blocked shots in the final minute.
It was the earliest Big Ten game in Illinois’ century-long history in the league. The Big Ten season was moved up because the league will hold its conference tournament a week early in order to stage it at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Orange-clad Illini fans outnumbered Wildcats fans in Northwestern’s temporary home 13 miles southwest of Welsh-Ryan Arena, which is undergoing major renovations and will not be used this season.
Northwestern: The top four players from the first Northwestern team to reach the NCAA Tournament are back, but the Wildcats continued to look like a shell of last year’s team despite the victory. Northwestern committed turnovers on its final three possessions of regulation.
Illinois: The Illini went 19 for 37 on 2-point field goals and shot 81 percent from the foul line, but committed 19 turnovers and went just 3 for 18 from 3-point territory in producing their lowest scoring output of the season. Their previous low came in an 80-73 loss to Wake Forest on Tuesday night.
Illinois will try to even its Big Ten record against Maryland on Sunday night. The Terrapins also dropped their Big Ten opener to Purdue.
Northwestern will be back at its temporary home on Sunday afternoon against Purdue in a battle of 1-0 Big Ten teams.
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