Men’s Basketball: Boo Buie’s offense not enough for Northwestern in rivalry game loss to DePaul


(Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman). Boo Buie dribbles the ball. The freshman guard started the first game of his career Saturday.

Charlie Goldsmith, Reporter

Eight months ago, coach Chris Collins recruited a point guard who projected to be one of the best players in the Big Ten. This was a guard who could hit a pull-up from three without a second thought and a guard who had a track record of making big plays down the stretch.

That guard was Charlie Moore, a senior who transferred from Kansas this summer. The two schools he decided between were Northwestern and DePaul.

Moore eventually committed to play for the Blue Demons (12-1), and he scored 25 points against the Wildcats (5-6, 0-2 Big Ten) in a 83-78 win for DePaul on Saturday at Wintrust Arena.

But NU freshman guard Boo Buie –– a lightly recruited player who would have entered the season as the Cats’ third string point guard if Moore decided differently –– proved that he could fill the role of the guard Collins coveted eight months ago. Facing Moore and the Blue Demons, Buie scored just as many points as Illinois’ former Mr. Basketball to keep the game close.

The two sharpshooting guards went back and forth for most of the rivalry matchup, and Buie had the best game of his young career. But playing crunch time for just the second time this season, Buie faded just as Moore got going.

“Experience shows in a hard fought game,” Collins said. “There were a lot of positives, but you still want to win in the moment. To not be able to close out those last four minutes hurt.”

Buie, who started the first game of his career, led NU to a four-point halftime lead and had the Cats up 3 points with just over three minutes left. But in the last few minutes, Moore was the catalyst for a 16-8 DePaul run that gave the Blue Demons their twelfth win of the year.

With 3:09 remaining, Moore hit an off-balanced stepback three that cut the Cats’ lead to one. One minute later, Moore threw a no-look alley-oop to DePaul forward Jaylen Butz that extended the Blue Demons’ lead to five points, and the senior guard made three free throws as he iced the win at the line at the end.

In the last four minutes, Moore had six points and two assists, while Buie went scoreless and committed a crucial turnover. With two minutes left, Buie threw an off-target pass that was easily picked off by Butz and taken all the way to the rim for two points, extending DePaul’s lead to five points. Buie also took an ill-advised 30-foot shot on an important possession late in the game.

“It was a hard fought game, but I made some bad plays at the end,” Buie said. “It cost us the game. It was a good battle tonight, but it didn’t come out the way I wanted to.”

But Buie’s first 35 minutes were as impressive as anything an NU guard has done in the Chris Collins era. It took 28 games for Bryant McIntosh to score 18 points in a game, and Scottie Lindsey, Vic Law and Tre Demps didn’t score 18 in a game until their sophomore or junior seasons.

Buie had 18 points at halftime –– just the 11th game of his career –– and he made 10 of his first 14 shots. With NU’s offense struggling early on, Buie scored 9 points in a three minute span to give the Cats a lead they didn’t relinquish until the final few minutes.

Sophomore forward Miller Kopp scored a career high 21 points and freshman center Ryan Young added 11, but NU’s offense couldn’t get anything going at the end of the game. In the last four minutes, the Cats took just three open shots as Buie and grad transfer guard Pat Spencer had a difficult time initiating the offense.

Moore had the Blue Demons humming down the stretch, and his late game run led DePaul to a win that will likely put the team in the top-25.

“I knew it was going to be a hard fought game,” Moore said. “Northwestern and DePaul is a big rivalry, and we hadn’t won against those guys in four years. I just wanted to give 110 percent effort for my team.”

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Twitter: @2021_charlie