Northwestern snapped out of a two-game losing streak with a victory on the road over an impressive Baylor team, leading by as much as 18 before a crazy, stupid, life-shortening finish before a 74-70 win.
For a while, this game looked like the reverse of the Maryland game: Northwestern had poor shooting in the first half, but killed Baylor on the boards - they were up 17-6 at one point - and took a three-point lead into the half. But Baylor was cold as ice to start the second switched to a man, and Northwestern killed them with backdoors to push the lead to 18 points.
Then, things got gross. I've never been tenser with a 15-point lead than that, because Baylor made it very clear they would come back. Northwestern got into foul trouble early, allowing Baylor to stop the clock and make shots, although they missed a ridiculous amount of free throws. Then, Baylor started fouling, employing a hack-an-Olah strategy, and Northwestern complied by missing free throws six straight at one point - and the game turned into a free throw competition. As you'd expect, that didn't work out well for Northwestern. Reggie Hearn fouled out, and things got weird. There was some sloppy, ugly play as Northwestern couldn'tbeat a press. The lead got to two. From 18. We all thought we would die.
But Northwestern held on. Props to Hearn - 17 points and 10 boards - and Drew Crawford - 19 - and Dave Sobolewski, who is really, really important to this team. We saw that Bill Carmody really doesn't want to go with his bench as he kept starters in at all costs, with good reason.