Northwestern survives over Vanderbilt, and I mean barely

SONG SELECTION:

“Eye of The Tiger”, by Survivor

Found on the Rocky III movie soundtrack, 1982

Northwestern appeared to have their first tournament game on ice leading by 12 with 15 minutes to go at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.

But we all know how great Bryce Drew was as a player, but in his first year as a coach after several great years at his alma mater of Valparaiso–he nearly willed his Commodores to the second round.

Vanderbilt led twice by one point with less than two minutes to go.  However, senior guard Matthew Fisher-Davis committed a freshman mistake.  With 15 seconds to play and his team up by one, he intentionally fouled Bryant McIntosh in the back court.  McIntosh calmly sank both free throws, but Vanderbilt nearly got back the lead missing on a few deep shots from three point range.  Northwestern split on their final two attempts from the line and Vandy’s final heave from half court clanked hard off the backboard.

Northwestern survived 68-66 over a gutsy group from Vanderbilt.  This game could have gone either way, but I guess the lessons learned from baseball’s World Series champions resonated well in Wildcats Nation.  Chicago can take a much needed exhale and wait until Saturday for their huge match-up against the top seed of Gonzaga on Saturday.

And yes, Sir Charles Barkley said it best at halftime:

“Gonzaga is probably the most underrated Number 1 seed of all-time.”

This was Northwestern’s 24th win of the season, extending their already all-time best single season record for wins.  Excellent job, Coach Chris Collins–you are moving on.  Question is, will the rest of Utah get behind the Cardiac Cats?

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