Bryant McIntosh scored 21 points and No. 20 Northwestern handed La Salle its first loss, 82-74, Saturday in a Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Tip-off game at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
McIntosh hit five 3-pointers and helped Northwestern bounce back from a loss to Creighton on Wednesday.
Scottie Lindsey scored 20 points, and Derek Pardon added 14 points for the Wildcats (3-1), who advance to face Texas Tech on Sunday.
B.J. Johnson scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Explorers, who will play Boston College on Sunday. Johnson was the only La Salle player to reach double figures.
Lindsey, McIntosh and Aaron Falzon hit 3-pointers during a one-minute stretch late in the second half to help the Wildcats put away La Salle (3-1).
The Wildcats took command with a 17-4 run midway through the first half. McIntosh, Falzon and Lindsey made 3-pointers during the run, and Vic Law’s layup made it 40-22 with 3:29 left in the first half.
Northwestern shot 62.1 percent from the floor in the first half, and the Wildcats led 46-24 at intermission. McIntosh led all scorers with 11 points in the first half.
La Salle battled back early in the second half. Johnson knocked down a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 59-51 with 11:50 to play.
Northwestern ended a 77-year NCAA tournament drought last season and is expected to contend in the Big Ten this year.
The Wildcats hit 12 3-pointers and shot 56.1 percent from the floor Saturday.