The win moved the Badgers (20-10, 13-6 Big Ten) into a three-way for first place in the Big Ten.
Wisconsin was not effective with the ball against a team that has the 12th-worst defense in the league, giving up more than 70 points a game, and is in last place in the conference.
Northwestern (7-22, 2-17) dug itself two holes, but only found its way out of only one.
The Wildcats, who shoot 42% from the field on average, started the game 1 for 10 with five turnovers in the first nine minutes. After trailing by 17 points with 5:48 left, Northwestern cut the Wisconsin lead to 32-28 just before half.
The Wildcats’ offensive woes resurfaced after the break as they started 1 for 12 and fell behind 48-33 with 8:51 left.
Wisconsin struggled to maintain consistency on offense. The Badgers rely heavily on the 3-point shot, averaging nearly nine a game and shooting 35% from the arc. They made the first 3-pointer they took on consecutive possessions to start the game. From there, Wisconsin made 5 of their next 22.
Pete Nance led Northwestern with 14 points.
Northwestern: The season has been a struggle for the Wildcats. They showed fight at times, but lacked any kind of offensive attack to give them a chance at the upset.
Wisconsin: The Badgers have gone from a 5-5 start in December to a three-way tie for first in the Big Ten, joining Maryland and Michigan State with one game to play in the regular season.
Northwestern: Hosts Penn State on Saturday.
Wisconsin: Travels to Indiana on Saturday.
Winston, No. 15 Michigan State top Northwestern 77-72
EVANSTON, Ill. — Cassius Winston scored 21 points and Xavier Tillman had 15 points and 10 rebounds, helping No. 15 Michigan State beat Northwestern 77-72 on Wednesday night.
Winston went 8 for 16 from the field in the Spartans’ 11th consecutive victory against the Wildcats. He also moved into 12th on the school’s career scoring list with 1,601 points, passing Morris Peterson (1,588) and Raymar Morgan (1,597).
The senior guard bounced back nicely after he had just nine points on 3-for-13 shooting during Saturday’s 72-49 victory over Oakland.
Boo Buie scored a career-high 26 points for Northwestern (5-5, 0-2 Big Ten), and Pete Nance finished with 14 in his return from a one-game suspension for “failure to adhere to program standards.”
Michigan State (8-3, 2-0) led by as many as 16 after Winston hittwo foul shots to make it 47-31 with 14:56 left. But the Wildcats responded with a 13-2 run.
Buie’s 3-pointer got Northwestern within five with 12:47 remaining. The freshman guard scored 11 points during the rally.
Michigan State eventually regained control with a 7-0 spurt, and then held off the Wildcats down the stretch. Foster Loyer made four foul shots for the Spartans in the final 33 seconds.
Gabe Brown added 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Loyer finished with seven points.
Michigan State: The Spartans went 9 for 21 from 3-point range after they went 7 for 33 from the deep in the victory over the Golden Grizzlies. The 3-point shooting will be something to watch for coach Tom Izzo’s team as it heads into the heart of its Big Ten schedule.
Northwestern: Buie’s performance in his first game against a ranked opponent is a positive sign for the Wildcats. He went 5 for 7 from beyond the arc.
Michigan State hosts Eastern Michigan on Saturday night. The Spartans don’t play another road game until Jan. 12 at Purdue.
Northwestern visits DePaul on Saturday night.
Former lacrosse star Pat Spencer commits to Northwestern for basketball
Northwestern landed a unique graduate transfer on Thursday as Loyola lacrosse star Pat Spencer will spend his final year of college eligibility hooping for the Wildcats, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman.
A former high school basketball standout at Boys’ Latin (MD), Spencer was one of the best lacrosse players in the country for the Greyhounds the past four years in college. He was selected in two drafts during the Spring. Spencer was taken first overall in the inaugural PLL College Draft while getting taken seventh overall in the MLL’s Collegiate Draft. Loyola remains in the NCAA tournament as Spencer is playing out his senior season of college.
Spencer is passing up multiple professional lacrosse opportunities to play Big Ten basketball for Northwestern. For a stud athlete in a sport to pass up money to pursue another athletic dream is one of the college basketball’s best things to follow next season.
As if Spencer’s background wasn’t unique enough, he’ll be at a Northwestern team starving for an identity since making the NCAA tournament a few seasons ago. By playing in the Big Ten, Spencer will be thrown against Final Four contenders and potential draft picks, which makes this transition particularly intriguing. It’s a cool story to follow this season as college hoops doesn’t often get athletes from other sports playing in such prominent conferences.
Greg Paulus famously went from Duke point guard to Syracuse quarterback as a graduate transfer, but he was leaving the sport to pursue an opportunity to play football. Spencer choosing basketball over a sure pro shot in lacrosse is an interesting opportunity for him this season. It’ll be interesting to see if he can still contribute anything on the hardwood.
EVANSTON, Ill. — A shaky start to the season didn’t rattle Purdue. The Boilermakers believed they were setting themselves up to go on a big run, and look at them now.
Carsen Edwards scored 21 points and No. 11 Purdue clinched a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship with a 70-57 victory over Northwestern on Saturday.
The Boilermakers (23-8, 16-4) secured their 24th conference title — second in three years — as well as the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago. They came in tied with Michigan State and Michigan, who played each other on Saturday night.
Edwards, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, made just 6 of 18 shots. Nojel Eastern scored a career-high 15, and Purdue bounced back from a loss at Minnesota on Tuesday to win for the 17th time in 20 games.
It’s quite a turnaround after a 6-5 start. The schedule early on wasn’t easy and there were some tight losses along the way.
“We just saw what we had,” center Matt Haarms said. “We saw how good (we could be). We saw the offensive potential. We saw how if we worked on defense, there were things we could do that could be special. Maybe others didn’t realize that because they weren’t around us all the time.”
Northwestern’s Vic Law scored 13 before getting carried off the court with a right knee injury in the second half.
The senior went down when his knee hit Edwards’ right shin as he curled toward the top of the key off a screen near the Wildcats’ basket.
The collision left Law clutching his cut right knee as he pounded the court in pain. He was tended to for several minutes before being carried off the court as the crowd gave him a loud ovation.
Coach Chris Collins said he wasn’t sure of the extent of the injury. He said Law was going for more tests, though he was able to walk.
“The most concerning thing is it was a pretty good cut,” Collins said. “It kind of broke open. That was the tough part of the thing. If there’s a way for him to keep playing, he will.”
A.J. Turner scored 14. The last-place Wildcats (13-18, 4-16) lost for the 11th time in 12 games.
DOWN THE STRETCH
Purdue had trouble putting this one away after building a 15-point lead in the second half. Northwestern got within 63-55 with 4:10 remaining on back-to-back 3’s by Turner.
But Edwards answered with a 3 and Eastern hit two free throws to make it a 13-point game.
“We have three or four wins that we were very fortunate to have. But more than anything, Our guys improved. Our guys got better. We had some young guys have to grow up, play off the bench and play a role. A lot of times, there’s a lot of dissension. There’s a lot of immaturity. There’s a lot of selfishness that comes because you’re young and you want to play. When you don’t have to play very much, you have to play a role. Our guys were really professional.” — Purdue coach Matt Painter.
Purdue: The Boilermakers bounced back from a loss at Minnesota and got the win despite some difficulties in this game. They made just 7 of 24 3-pointers, but held a 37-26 rebounding edge — 10-2 in offensive boards.
Northwestern: As if the Wildcats needed more bad news this season, they might have to get by without their leading scorer. Law came in averaging 15.1 points. He missed the 2015-16 season because of a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
Purdue: Plays Friday in the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago.
Northwestern: Plays Wednesday in the Big Ten Tournament.
It was the second straight game the Bohannon played hero for the Hawkeyes (19-5, 8-5, Big Ten). And again, it was his long-range shooting that did the trick.
“Ice in my veins, right?” Bohannon said through a laugh. “No, like I said, I just feel really comfortable toward the end of the games. When you have a coach like Coach (Fran) McCaffery who gives the ultimate green light to you, it gives you the supreme confidence to be able to make shots like that down the stretch.
“Coach McCaffery did a good job of drawing up a good set and I just tried to do what I’ve always done, just try to close out games and make the most of the time I’m out there.”
Bohannon’s second-straight highlight-reel performance came as no surprise to McCaffery, who has gotten to see the youngest Bohannon — who had two older brothers play Big Ten basketball — play since grade school.
“It’s one of those things where if it ended the way that it did, you know (Bohannon) is going to make the shot,” McCaffery said. “He’s been doing it since fifth grade.
“He did it against Penn State, too. He’s had an amazing year in that respect. He’s fearless. That’s why he’s got to be on the floor.”
Bohannon scored his first points with 5:28 to go on a jumper and finished with 15 points with 3-for-4 shooting from 3-point range.
Freshman Joe Wieskamp scored 21 points, including a 3-pointer that was part of the Hawkeyes’ comeback with less than six minutes remaining. Tyler Cook had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Isaiah Moss scored 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting.
Vic Law had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Ryan Taylor scored 16 points, A.J. Turner added 15 and Dererk Pardon scored 13 for Northwestern (12-11, 3-9).
The Hawkeyes struggled through most of the game against the visiting Wildcats, getting beat heavily on the boards (37-26) and allowing Northwestern to shoot better than 50 percent from the field.
McCaffery said the final play was drawn up with multiple options, including for Wieskamp, Cook and Moss, in addition to Bohannon. It was up to his son, Connor, to make the right decision.
“We ran a play with multiple options, and it’s up to the players to execute,” McCaffery said. “It’s up to the inbounder to make the right decision.
“You don’t want to force it there because it might not be there. We had options for Cook, for Joe and options for (Moss). Connor (McCaffery) had to read it, he made the perfect read and (Bohannon) made the shot.”
Iowa has won three straight and sit three games behind Michigan in the Big Ten Conference standings.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes got a season-defining win 10 days ago against Michigan and backed that up on the road at Indiana. A furious comeback helped erase what would’ve been a letdown, and now positions the Hawkeyes for several crucial games to better their NCAA Tournament seeding down the stretch.
Northwestern: The Wildcats looked like they were going to snap a three-game losing streak overall and get just their second Big Ten road win this season to go along with their victory Jan. 18 at Rutgers. Instead, they fell further into the trap of playing on the first day of the Big Ten Tournament and have lost four in a row.
If the NCAA had the NBA’s trade deadline, what deals would get made?
I’m convinced of it. Imagine, for a second, the offers that would get thrown around as Duke looks for some shooting, or Michigan looks for another playmaker, or Kansas tries to find a way to avoid losing the Big 12 for the first time since Hoobastank was still a thing.
It wouldn’t make the headlines that this Anthony Davis soap opera has, but it would be one of the biggest story in sports.
So with that in mind, let’s pretend this trade deadline exists. What would happen? We have the answers.
One major caveat here: These trades have to benefit both teams, and they have to be trades that, in theory, would be accepted. So, for example, no matter how much I want to imagine someone like Cam Reddish with the freedom he’d have at Kansas. The same can be said for someone like Dylan Windler or Ja Morant or Chris Clemons. Those mid-majors superstars are on teams with the talent to win their league. They’re not making moves right now.
I know it’s kind of silly to require some sensibility for something that could never possibly happen, but it makes the exercise that much more fun.
Anyway, here are the trades. Drop a note in the comments or hit me on twitter with any I missed:
WICHITA STATE’S MARKIS MCDUFFIE TO DUKE FOR ALEX O’CONNELL
McDuffie is everything that Duke is missing at this point in the season. He’s an athletic, 6-foot-8 wing that is a versatile defender and, most importantly, a senior that has already won a bunch of games in March. He’s have the best year of his career this season, averaging 18.9 points while shooting 38.1 percent from three. He’s a better version of Jack White, a piece that can spell any of Duke’s Big Three while also being able to hold his own if Duke went to their death lineup — with McDuffie on the floor with the four freshmen.
O’Connell would be a good get for Gregg Marshall. He’s going to have to be better defensively to fit in there, but you get better defensively when you spend time in that program. And frankly, playing for one of the better programs in the American is more O’Connell’s level than playing for arguably the best program in America. He hasn’t been great for Duke, but keep in mind, he’s an athletic, 6-foot-6 wing that can shoot it from three and was a top 75 prospect coming out of high school.
Wichita State is dead in the water this year, so it makes sense to give up McDuffie for the rest of a wasted season to get two more years of O’Connell in return.
STANFORD’S KZ OKPALA TO MICHIGAN FOR BRANDON JOHNS AND THE COMMITMENT OF JALEN WILSON
Stanford’s season is done. They’re 11-10 on the year, they’re 4-5 in the horrid Pac-12 and while Jerod Haase isn’t quite on the hot seat just yet, he’s getting closer and closer to that territory by the moment. He also has one of the best sophomores in the country on his roster in K.Z. Okpala, a 6-foot-9 wing that shoots 41 percent from three, can handle the ball and will likely end up being a top 20 pick in this year’s draft.
This season is currently going to waste for Okpala, who is the perfect fit on a Michigan team that can go through stretches were they really struggle to score. Zavier Simpson, Jon Teske and, to a point, Charles Matthews are sensational defenders that can be liabilities on the offensive end of the floor, and when all of them are playing roughly 20 minutes together, Michigan can get bogged down on that end of the floor.
Enter Okpala, who has the length and athleticism to be a plus-defender and whose shooting and playmaking ability will fit in perfectly with a John Beilein offense. He’ll create depth on a roster that doesn’t have a ton of it, and suddenly give Beilein the option of playing a lineup that includes Iggy Brazdeikis, Isaiah Livers, Matthews and Okpala.
Johns is going to end up being pretty good, and Wilson is a top 50 prospect, so that’s a lot to give up, but Johns will play at least one more year behind Teske and Livers, and Wilson can be replaced on the recruiting trail still. Okpala gives Michigan a real chance to win a title this season, and Stanford will be getting good foundational pieces to add to a young core in return.
NORTHWESTERN’S VIC LAW TO KANSAS FOR CHARLIE MOORE
SOUTH CAROLINA’S CHRIS SILVA TO KANSAS FOR MARCUS GARRETT
Charlie Moore has not had anywhere near the impact we thought he would have this season for Kansas. Devon Dotson has taken over starting point guard duties, and Moore — who was good for a bad Cal team as a freshman — has been forced into essentially being a back-up point guard that shoots a bunch of threes. Northwestern is closer to his level, and Law is a perfect piece to add to the Kansas roster. He’s a versatile and talented 6-foot-7 wing defender — he’s averaging better than 1.0 blocks and 1.0 steals per game this season — that is averaging 15.0 points and 2.9 assists this season. He’s not shooting it all that well this year, but the last two seasons, he was a 39 percent three-point shooter.
But it is the second trade here that really gets the juice flowing. Marcus Garrett has become surplus to requirements for the Jayhawks with the emergence of Ochai Agbaji and the struggles of Quentin Grimes, which has made it seem more and more likely he’ll end up in Lawrence for a second season. Garrett is one of the nation’s best defenders, but he is not the offensive weapon that Self needs him to be.
He is, however, the perfect fit longterm for a South Carolina program that is more or less dead in the water right now. They aren’t going to get an at-large bid and currently sit three games behind the No. 1 team in the country and two games behind the No. 5 team in the country in the SEC title race. Chris Silva is a hoss in the paint and maybe the most underrated big man in the sport. He’s precisely what Kansas needs for the rest of the year with Udoka Azubuike out and the rest of their frontcourt not ready.
These two deals would make Kansas the best team in the Big 12 and would not totally mortgage the program’s future.
USC’S BENNIE BOATWRIGHT TO SYRACUSE FOR JALEN CAREY
Bennie Boatwright is perfect for Syracuse. He’s 6-foot-10 and he’s not all that interested in playing defense, which makes him a perfect fit to be hidden in that zone. He also can shooting the cover off the ball, and what the Orange need more than anything else is someone that can create some space offensively. He’ll pull defenses out of the lane and allow Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett to do what they do best.
Jalen Carey has had some flashes for the Orange, but he’s on the smaller side and he can’t really shoot it, which has limited his effectiveness as the season has gone on.
TULSA’S DAQUAN JEFFRIES TO TEXAS TECH FOR KYLER EDWARDS
Finding the right fit for Texas Tech was tough. I toyed with Justin James of Wyoming, a number of the other wings you currently see on this list as well as Robert Franks from Washington State. I finally settled on Jeffries.
A lot of people won’t be familiar with Jeffries, but he would be a perfect fit for the Red Raiders. He’s tough as hell, he’s a really good defender and, most importantly, he can shoot it from three. That is the big thing that this team needs — floor-spacing. Someone that can ease the burden that is on Jarrett Culver’s shoulders. Jeffries can be that guy.
Giving up Kyler Edwards would not be ideal, but Texas Tech does have some depth on their perimeter and some pieces coming in in their backcourt. He’ll be a star for Tulsa in the American, and would give Frank Haith a nice building block moving forward.
ST. JOSEPH’S CHARLIE BROWN TO KENTUCKY FOR JEMARL BAKER
Charlie Brown is a talented, 6-foot-7 sophomore with an NBA future that has struggled to find his way within the St. Joe’s program. He needs a fresh start, and his length and athleticism on the perimeter would be a really nice fit on Kentucky’s roster. He can shoot it as well, meaning that the Wildcats won’t lose much with Baker leaving.
St. Joe’s, on the other hand, will be getting a former four-star recruit that needs a place where he can get more minutes to prove how good he can be.
UTAH’S SEDRICK BAREFIELD TO INDIANA FOR TWO FRESHMEN TO BE NAMED LATER
There are two things that this Indiana program needs: Veteran leadership at the point guard spot, and someone that can consistently hit jumpers to create space for Romeo Langford, Juwan Morgan and De’Ron Davis to operate. Barefield is a senior that is averaging 16.3 points and 3.8 assists for Utah while shooting 40.6 percent from three. He’s the perfect fit for the Hoosiers, who, in exchange, would send back some of their young pieces. Who do you like? Clifton Moore? Damezi Anderson? Jake Forrester? Jerome Hunter? If I’m Archie Miller, the only guy that I’m not giving up is Robert Phinisee.
NEW MEXICO’S ANTHONY MATHIS TO VCU FOR P.J. BYRD
I really think that this VCU team has a chance to be dangerous this year … if they can find a way to start consistently making threes. Anthony Mathis is a guy that will consistently take, and make, threes. He plays in a system at UNM that is not all that different from what VCU does, and while Byrd has looked promising in his limited minute with the Rams, VCU will be getting Marcus Evans back next season. There won’t be many minutes for him available, and it shouldn’t be that hard for Mike Rhoades to find another point guard to fit what he wants to do.