EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Dererk Pardon scored on a layup at the buzzer off a long inbound pass from Nathan Taphorn to give Northwestern a 67-65 victory over Michigan on Wednesday night.
The Wolverines’ Zak Irvin had just missed a 3-pointer in the closing seconds. The ball got knocked out of bounds and, after timeout, Taphorn threw a baseball style pass the length of the court, hitting Pardon in stride for the winning shot.
As the buzzer sounded, fans packing Welsh-Ryan Arena poured onto the court. The win was just what the Wildcats (21-9, 10-7 Big Ten) — trying to make their first NCAA Tournament — needed after dropping five of seven.
Vic Law scored 18 for Northwestern. Bryant McIntosh added 13 points and five assists, and the Wildcats matched their highest conference win total since the 1932-33 team tied for the Big Ten championship.
Derrick Walton Jr. shook off a slow start to score 15 for Michigan (19-11, 9-8). He hit 4 of 8 3-pointers. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman finished with 13 points. Irvin scored 12 and Moritz Wagner grabbed 10 rebounds. But the Wolverines took the loss after winning five of six.
Wagner had just been called for a lane violation attempting the front end of a one-and-one when McIntosh whipped a pass to Sanjay Lumpkin to give Northwestern a 65-63 lead with 1:47 remaining.
Irvin tied it on a put-back with 1:28 remaining. Both teams missed some chances to take the lead, but Northwestern came out on top thanks to a perfect pass from Taphorn to Pardon.
Michigan: Though they had been coming on strong, the Wolverines saw their NCAA hopes take a hit with this loss.
Northwestern: The Wildcats, who looked like a lock for the NCAA a few weeks ago, can breathe a little easier after a rough stretch.
Michigan: Visits Nebraska on Sunday.
Northwestern: Hosts No. 16 Purdue in the final game at Welsh-Ryan Arena until the 2018-19 season. The Wildcats will play next year at Allstate Arena in Rosemont while their facility undergoes a $110 million renovation.
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