Better late than never.
After some ugly shooting through 40 minutes Saturday, Northwestern forced overtime and caught fire in the extra period, outscoring DePaul 17-9 in OT and picking up its 10th win of the season, 78-70.
The Cats shot just 34.4 percent and scored only 29 points in the first half against a group of Blue Demons that came in with a 5-5 record. Thankfully for Northwestern, DePaul was just as unable to get much going offensively, scoring just 30 first-half points on 35.7-percent shooting.
And the second half didn't go much better for either side, with Northwestern shooting 36.7 percent from the field and DePaul shooting 34.5 percent. The Cats trailed most of the way, though never by more than seven. Down six with five minutes to go in regulation, Tre Demps hit a 3 to make it a one-possession game, two Alex Olah free throws brought the Cats within a point, and Sanjay Lumpkin's layup just inside of three minutes to play gave Northwestern its first lead of the second half. After a trio of DePaul free throws put the Demons up three under the two-minute mark, Bryant McIntosh got a layup and Lumpkin split a pair of free throws to tie the game. Both sides missed some go-ahead opportunities, leading to the extra period.
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Northwestern sprinted away in OT, an Aaron Falzon 3 putting the Cats in front, and they held that lead till the final buzzer. Falzon hit a pair of 3-pointers in OT, as the Cats made five of the seven shots they took in the final five minutes.
Northwestern ended up out-shooting DePaul, 39.1 percent to 34.8 percent, with the Cats going 18-for-21 from the free-throw line (compared to the 17-for-25 effort by DePaul) and only turning the ball over five times.
Demps finished with a team-high 18 points, also grabbing seven rebounds. Lumpkin and Olah each had 14 points and seven rebounds, and McIntosh finished with 13 points, eight assists and five rebounds.
The win sent Northwestern to 10-1 on the season, one of just four Big Ten teams to reach double-digit wins at this point in the season. With just two games remaining in the non-conference season against Sacred Heart and Loyola (Md.), it's looking probable that the Cats will head into Big Ten play at 12-1.