A pair of struggling squads will try to pick up a key non-conference win before a return to league play their next time out when Northwestern visits Boston College on Tuesday as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Northwestern, which earlier lost to both Merrimack and Radford by double digits on its home floor, is coming off a 72-59 loss to Pittsburgh in the title game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off in Florida.
The Wildcats were picked to finish last in the Big Ten and will face their first league opponent in Purdue on Sunday. Boston College lost three in a row and four of their last five, with only a four-point victory at home over Eastern Washington to its credit during that span. The Eagles visit Notre Dame on Saturday and need to find some rhythm on offense after shooting a season-low 29.1 percent in Saturday's 64-44 loss at Richmond. "We didn't play as hard, I thought, defensively and they made shots," Boston College coach Jim Christian told reporters after his team was outscored by 21 points in the second half. "They got into a good rhythm. They kept doing the things that they do and we stopped doing the things that we did well in the first half."
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU
ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (3-3): Sophomore forward Pete Nance leads the Wildcats with 12.2 points and eight rebounds per game, although he was held to a total of 12 points and 12 boards in the two games in Fort Myers. Senior guard Pat Spencer picked up the slack by scoring 41 points on 16-of-23 shooting - 4-of-5 from long range - in the two contests. Behind Nance and Spencer (11.8), freshman forward Miller Kopp is the one other Wildcat scoring in double figures (11.3), while freshman center Ryan Young averages 9.8 points and 6.2 boards.
ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (4-4): Freshman guard Jay Heath returned from a one-game layoff due to an illness to score a team-high 14 points in the loss to Richmond, while his teammates combined to go 11-of-44 from the field. Leading scorer Derryck Thornton (15.3) was held to seven points while fellow senior Nik Popovic (12.3) had just two points - his lowest total since Feb. 6, 2018 - on 1-of-7 shooting. Junior forward Steffon Mitchell hauled in nine rebounds and leads the team with 9.1 per contest.
1. The Eagles entered Monday ranked 286th nationally in shooting (40.8 percent) and the Wildcats were 303rd (40.3).
2. Heath is averaging 14 points over his last three games while making 11-of-19 from 3-point range.
3. The teams last met in the second round of the 2011 NIT, when Northwestern picked up an 85-67 win at Boston College.
Key Players to Watch
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