Evanston, IL – Caleb Swanigan scored 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in a 69-65 Purdue victory over Northwestern. Vince Edwards chipped in with 25 and 5 assists for the Boilermakers (25-6, 14-4). Northwestern (21-10, 10-8) was led by Bryant McIntosh who totaled 25 points and 6 assists in a losing effort.
Despite having already locked up an outright conference title, the Boilermakers claimed they had plenty to play for. Swanigan emphasized the importance of NCAA tournament seeding after the game as an important motivator. Dakota Mathias echoed those sentiments while stating, “As a competitor, you are always playing to win.”
The Boilermakers entered into possibly the rowdiest environment ever at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Not only was it senior day for the Wildcats, but there was a noticeable buzz in the arena after Northwestern seemingly locked up their first ever NCAA tournament berth after beating Michigan earlier in the week.
The Wildcats used the energy in the building to jump out to an early 21-12 lead. Purdue responded with a 9-0 run to take a 23-21 lead. After that, both teams battled back and forth the rest of the way and were deadlocked at 37-37 heading into halftime.
Purdue built a 47-42 lead early in the second half capped by an Isaac Haas dunk. That lead was quickly erased on a dunk by Vic Law and layup by McIntosh. The Boilermakers once again built a lead. This time it was a 59-50 margin highlighted by a Swanigan slam. The Wildcats refused to go away. Once again they battled back and cut the Purdue margin to one at 60-59. Northwestern was never able to get over the hump as Purdue closed out the game at the free throw line for a 69-65 victory.
Purdue finishes as the outright B1G champion for the first time since 1995-96. The Boilermakers will receive a double by for the conference tournament in Washington, D.C. next weekend and will await the winner of Michigan and Illinois. Northwestern finishes in 6th place in the conference. They will receive a first-round bye and will play the winner of the 11/14 match-up.