Northwestern leads big, holds on against Georgia Tech 67-61
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Ryan Taylor had 20 points, Vic Law added 14 and nine rebounds and Northwestern survived a second-half offensive drought to hang on for a 67-61 victory over Georgia Tech Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
Dererk Pardon had 12 points and 10 rebounds as Northwestern (6-1) won its third straight.
The Wildcats had a 28-point lead with 16 minutes remaining before the offense suddenly went cold.
Jose Alvarado had 24 points for Georgia Tech (4-2).
Georgia Tech won the meeting between the teams last season, 52-51, in Atlanta.
Northwestern quickly established control of the game on the defensive end. Georgia Tech managed just 20 first-half points on 6-for-24 (25 percent) shooting.
Law led the way for the Wildcats with 10 first-half points, while Taylor and Anthony Gaines added eight points apiece.
Gaines hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 40-20 at halftime, NU’s biggest lead to that point.
The Wildcats were 13 of 27 (48 percent) from the field in the first half.
Northwestern opened the second half with a 10-2 run for a 50-22 lead, but Georgia Tech responded with a 13-2 run to pull within 52-35.
The Yellow Jackets picked up their defensive pressure and quickly got the Wildcats out of rhythm offensively.
The lead was down to 57-47 with 7 ½ minutes to play. Georgia Tech kept chipping away, but couldn’t score consistently enough to make a serious push at winning the game. The closest the Yellow Jackets got was 66-61 on an Alvarado 3-pointer with 1.4 seconds to go.
Georgia Tech: All of the Yellow Jackets’ wins so far this season have come against teams from smaller conferences. Their only other road game was a 66-53 loss against No. 6 Tennessee.
Northwestern: Despite playing three games in four days in the Wooden Classic over the weekend in California, the Wildcats had plenty of energy, particularly on the defense end. Coach Chris Collins has said repeatedly that this team’s success will be determined on the defensive end. It certainly was Wednesday.
Georgia Tech: Play St. John’s in the Hoophall Miami Invitational on Saturday.
Northwestern: Visit Indiana on Saturday in the Big Ten opener.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25