CHICAGO (CBS) — Vincent Edwards scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half and Caleb Swanigan added 20 points and 14 rebounds to help No. 16 Purdue beat Northwestern, 69-65, on Sunday.
Purdue (25-6, 14-4 Big Ten) clinched the outright regular-season conference title earlier in the week, but had to hold on in the final seconds to fend off Northwestern (21-10, 10-8) in front of a raucous sellout crowd.
Bryant McIntosh finished with 25 points and six assists for Northwestern. The Wildcats have lost six of nine.
Swanigan had his nation-leading 25th double-double.
Swanigan’s dunk gave Purdue a 59-50 lead with seven minutes remaining, but the Wildcats answered with a 7-0 run. Sanjay Lumpkin’s putback got Northwestern to 60-59 with 3:14 left, but the Wildcats could never get ahead in the second half. Trailing 66-63, Nathan Taphorn airballed a 3 with 15 seconds left and Purdue closed the game by going 3 of 4 from the foul line.
Dererk Pardon’s winning shot against Michigan on Wednesday night put Northwestern on the cusp of its first NCAA Tournament bid in the program’s history.
In an earlier matchup, Purdue beat Northwestern 80-59 on Feb. 1 in West Lafayette. The Wildcats were missing Scottie Lindsey and Taphorn.
Northwestern, who has been featured nationally this week after the thrilling win on Wednesday, played in front of a nationally televised CBS audience for the first time since Feb. 5, 2011.
Swanigan’s putback with 28 seconds left in the first half tied the game at 37. Mathias scored 12 points in the half and Swanigan added nine points and eight rebounds. McIntosh led the Wildcats with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
In the first half, Lindsey looked like he was getting back to the form he was in before he became ill with mononucleosis. He had eight points in the half. He was the team’s leading scorer before the illness, but after missing four games he has struggled with his overall game.
Before the game, Northwestern honored seniors Lumpkin and Taphorn, who threw the full-court pass to set up Pardon’s buzzer-beater Wednesday.
Purdue: The Boilermakers continue to build a good NCAA resume going into postseason play by winning 8 of its last nine games.
Northwestern: With the Wildcats’ recent slide, an NCAA bid might not be a sure thing if they lose in their second round Big Ten Tournament game.
As the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament, Purdue bypasses to the quarterfinals and plays Friday. Northwestern gets a bye and will play in the second round Thursday.
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