Northwestern: Wildcats Win Tough Opener vs Loyola

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: Vic Law (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 10: Vic Law (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

After a season for the ages, Chicago’s Big Ten team was back on the hardwood Friday to take on Loyola (MD) from All State Arena. For the first time, the Wildcats entered the season with expectations. They were ranked 19th in the preseason polls and after clinching the first NCAA Tournament bid in school history, fans are hungry for more.

One wonders if all this expectation may have gotten to the Wildcats a bit to begin the game. Coach Chris Collins has one of the more experienced groups in the Big Ten so the flat start was not from any lack of experience.

Quickly the upperclassmen stepped up. Senior guard Scottie Lindsey lead the team with 26 points and also added in 9 rebounds for good measure. Bryant McIntosh has not lost his touch as the beautiful floater was on display all game. He had 16 points and lead the team with 7 assists.

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On the other side, Loyola (MD) was carried by the one-two punch of Andrew Kostecka and Cam Gregory. They both combined for 40 points and gave the Wildcats fits on the defensive end of the floor. The ability for them to crash the glass and keep up in the rebounding really made a difference. All night second chance looks were available and Loyola was cashing in throughout the game.

In the end, Loyola came up just short of serving an opening night upset. The final score read Northwestern 79, Loyola (MD) 75.

November College Basketball really means next to nothing when it comes down to it. Tonight’s game served as a wake-up call to the team. Reminding them that will need to keep ‘”pounding the rock.” Like last season the Wildcats will not be afraid of big moments and will not back out of a fight. It showed tonight. A long season awaits the Wildcats and they will be tested. Tonight they pulled out a win and surely Coach Collins will remind the players how close the game was.

The Wildcats next game will be on Monday versus Saint Peter’s from All State Arena.