In game two in Indianapolis Northwestern achieved a new school milestone in beating Indiana 73-58. The Wildcats will finish the 2009-10 season with at least 20 wins, which is the first time Northwestern has reached that plateau in a single season in school history. They have earned a date tomorrow with second seeded Purdue and their hopes for a first ever NCAA Tournament berth are still alive. The Wildcats defeated the Boilermakers back in January during the teams’ only meeting.
Indiana led by three at halftime but Northwestern received superb play from Michael Thompson in the win. Thompson had 13 second half points and finished with a game high 16 for the Wildcats. Northwestern lived and died by the 3-pointer, attempting 31 shots from long range, but hitting only seven. John Shurna added 14 and Jeremy Nash had 13 as Northwestern had a 46-28 edge in second half scoring.
For Indiana, the story was much the same as it has been all season for the Hoosiers. Indiana turned the ball over 19 times and could not get consistent offense in the post. Verdell Jones III had 20 points, but it took 5 of 12 shooting from the field to reach that mark. The loss capped a long two-year stretch for the Indiana program, which has gone just 16-45 in two years under coach Tom Crean.
Northwestern’s second round game presents an interesting matchup with Purdue. The Wildcats beat the Boilermakers 72-64 on January 16th and Purdue has lost just once since. Purdue did lose that game with star forward Robbie Hummel in the lineup, however. Hummel was lost for the season with a torn ACL against Minnesota on February 24th, so Purdue will have to adjust against Northwestern’s 1-3-1 zone without Hummel. Northwestern also has a two game winning streak against the Boilermakers, making them the only team in the conference with an active winning streak over Purdue that is longer than one.