After first-ever NCAA tournament win, Northwestern is playing with house money

20170316ppRMUNCAA6SPTS-5 Robert Morris head coach Charlie Buscaglia speaks during a press conference Thursday at Notre Dame
Pam Panchak Post-GazetteRobert Morris head coach Charlie Buscaglia speaks during a press conference Thursday at Notre Dame
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18 March, 2017

"You envision yourself hitting the game-winner".

McIntosh got to be a March hero for the Wildcats as he desired, but in a totally unexpected fashion.

Never mind for now that the win came thanks largely to a jaw-dropping last-second fail by Vanderbilt's star - we'll cover that in a second. That put eighth-seeded Northwestern in the double bonus, and McIntosh went to the line and calmly swished the free throws with 15 seconds left.

"When he grabbed me, I was kind of surprised", McIntosh said.

Asked if he thought his team trailed by one point instead of the blurry reality of leading by one, he says, "Yeah, I did". And I was kind of, 'Wait, are we up one?' So I was looking at the score and making sure I felt that we were in the right position.

"I mean it's just really cool", he said. The Commodores were very much still in the game after Fisher-Davis' foul, and it was not the biggest turning point in the match. Unfortunately for Vandy and Fisher-Davis, all the heroics will disappear into one sports tragic moment of forgetting time and situation. ". Saw Coach Drew point at my man, he was just telling me my matchup, and I got it confused with the foul". Northwestern lost 11 games this winter, but none came against any teams outside the RPI's top 80.

"I don't know why he did that", said NU guard Sanjay Lumpkin. That's why you put in the time. Unfortunately for Fisher-Davis, this happened in one of the biggest games of his life at the worst possible time. You don't dream about being timid. His teammates - and even Northwestern's own coach - all defended Fisher-Davis' foul as an honest mistake, and several people correctly pointed out that Vanderbilt wouldn't have made their second-half comeback without his contributions.

It was a nightmare for Fisher-Davis, who led Vanderbilt with 22 points and spearheaded the team's rally from 15 points down in the second half.

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"We just clicked", Collins said. "We've talked our whole year with our team that one play or two plays doesn't define a whole game".

Four players are averaging at least 8.5 points per game for Northwestern, they are: Bryant McIntosh (14.4), Scottie Lindsey (14.2), Vic Law (12.4) and Dererk Pardon (8.5) per game. For Vanderbilt, Luke Kornet scored 14 points, and LaChance chipped in 12.

I expect Gonzaga to clamp down on Northwestern in a similar fashion to their game against South Dakota State.

The Commodores cut it to a one-possession deficit behind 3-pointers from Payton Willis and LaChance.

"He shot the 3 really well", Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew said.

The Wildcats were on top 34-27 at halftime. The Wildcats had just fought valiantly against Knight's Hoosiers in 1994, only to fall short, as most everyone knew they would, extending another losing streak that eventually reached nine games.

Josh Hamburger, Editor in Chief: The Commodores couldn't score in the opening minutes of both halves of their last game against Arkansas.


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