EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Vic Law had 21 points, five rebounds and five assists, Ryan Taylor also scored 21 and Northwestern overcame a sluggish start for a 75-54 victory over Columbia on Sunday.
Dererk Pardon had 12 points and 10 rebounds despite first-half foul trouble for Northwestern, which has won three of four.
The Wildcats (9-4) were just 23 of 55 from the field for the game. Law was 7 for 14 from the field, including 3 of 6 on 3-pointers. He has scored at least 15 points in six straight games, the longest streak of his career.
Patrick Tape had 18 points and Quinton Adlesh added 14 as Columbia (3-9) dropped its third straight.
The Wildcats hadn’t played for nine days — a 76-69 overtime loss against Oklahoma on Dec. 21 — and were obviously rusty at the start. They were just 4 of 16 from the field as Columbia built a 16-12 lead with just over eight minutes left in the first half.
Law put Northwestern on top to stay with a 3-pointer for a 21-18 lead with five minutes remaining. That began a run of seven straight points and the Wildcats took a 37-29 halftime edge.
Taylor opened the second-half scoring with a 3-pointer to build the advantage to double digits, 40-29, for the first time.
The lead was 51-34 a few minutes later before Columbia scored five straight to pull within 51-39. Northwestern, though, answered with five quick points — on a 3-pointer by Pete Nance and a layup by Law — to make 56-39 with 11½ minutes to go.
The closest the Lions got after that was 12 points.
Columbia: This was the Lions’ second straight road game against a Big Ten team and they were competitive in each. They lost 68-65 in overtime at Rutgers last week. The schedule eases up from here so there should be more opportunities to rack up wins.
Northwestern: This was essentially a tuneup before the Big Ten schedule resumes later this week. With a pair of two-point loses against Indiana and Michigan in the first two league games played in early December, the Wildcats don’t have much margin for error because the Big Ten should be one of the tougher leagues in the country.
Columbia: At Binghamton Wednesday night.
Northwestern: At No. 8 Michigan State Wednesday night.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25