Lindsey scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds, helping the 19th-ranked Wildcats defeat Loyola (Md.) 79-75 and avoid an upset in their season-opener Friday night at All State Arena.
"I thought at the very end of the season, he got back," Northwestern coach Chris Collins said of Lindsey. "He missed three weeks with the mono last year, and I thought it took him about three weeks to get back. ... Scottie can really score, and we're relying on him to do that."
Loyola (0-1) jumped out to an early lead after shooting 4-for-7 from the field in the opening minutes, but Northwestern quickly found its rhythm and took command of the first half, leading by as many as 17.
Lindsey hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then threw down an emphatic baseline jam to cap an 18-1 first-half run by the Wildcats that spanned 5:18.
Northwestern (1-0) shot 46.7 percent on its way to a 37-24 halftime lead, while Loyola shot just 26.7 percent in the first half.
Loyola used a 17-6 run to claw its way back in the second half, and took a 1-point lead following a 3-pointer by Brent Holcombe with 7:05 remaining. Holcombe finished with 13 points before fouling out with 14 seconds remaining.
"Obviously, we feel very fortunate to win the game," Collins said. "We had a lot of game pressure on us there late. Give Loyola credit. Every time we had them at kind of a breaking point -- 14 points up, 17 points up -- they made a couple shots and they kept clawing their way back into the game."
Dererk Pardon's and-one dunk with 2:13 remaining extended the Wildcats lead to six, but Pardon failed to convert on the free-throw attempt, and Loyola scored on back-to-back possessions to make it a one-possession game.
Pardon finished 16 points to go with seven rebounds.
"There were two separate occasions where we got up to a good lead, and we weren't able to really put our foot on their throat, and that's really frustrating," Lindsey said. "That's something that we've got to work on is putting our foot on the gas pedal and finishing games off."
Trailing by two with less than 30 seconds to play, Loyola set up in the half court to hold for the final shot, but Bryant McIntosh stole the ball from Holcombe at the top of the key and sank two free-throws to seal the game.
McIntosh finished with 16 points, including 10 in the second half, as well as a team-high seven assists.
"We have a big ceiling," McIntosh said. "We just have to go to work and go back to having fun. I thought we didn't have a lot of emotion and we were kind of lifeless tonight.
It's disappointing, and its starts with me. I have to do a better job with that, and I will."
Andrew Kostecka led the Greyhounds with 22 points --16 in the second half -- shooting 8-for-14 from the field, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range.
Cam Gregory added 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Andre Walker, the Greyhound's leading scorer in 2016 at 14.9 points per game, struggled in his season debut. He finished with only eight points and four assists, and was limited to just 11 minutes in the second half due to foul trouble.
NOTES: Northwestern moves to 5-0 in season-openers under Chris Collins. ... Loyola F Cam Gregory moved to 11th on the school's all-time career rebound list, passing Jarred Jones' mark of 622. ... Northwestern leads the all-time series 3-0. ... Loyola G Andre Walker was issued a technical foul with 16:59 remaining in the second half following an animated reaction to his third foul call... The 19th-ranked Wildcats cracked the preseason Top-25 poll for the first time in school history. ... Northwestern blocked 12 shots while Loyola blocked just two.