Men’s Basketball: Transfer Chase Audige makes impressive NU debut in blowout win


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Chase Audige tries a three-pointer. Audige scored a career-high 25 points against No. 21 Ohio State, but couldn’t get going from three-point range, finishing the night 1 for 7.

John Riker, Reporter

Men’s Basketball

Entering Wednesday, Chase Audige’s last appearance in a NCAA game was on March 10, 2019 as a starter for William & Mary.

While the circumstances — a 21-month hiatus complicated further by an injury that required rehabilitation and the coronavirus pandemic — would have justified a slow return to action for the sophomore transfer, Audige’s Northwestern debut was anything but modest. Audige stole the show in the Wildcats’ (1-0) season-opening 92-49 rout of the Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-4). The Coram, N.Y. native reached double-digits in points by halftime and finished with 16 overall.

“Chase is an aggressive, hungry player,” coach Chris Collins said. “He gives us another guy who can get his own shot, he can get out in transition and get to the basket, he shoots threes, he gets fouls. When you play in the Big Ten against really good defenses, you need guys who create when things break down.”

Prior to his transfer to NU, Audige made an immediate impact as a first-year for the Tribe. Audige averaged 9.6 points per game and earned a spot on the Colonial Athletic Association’s All-Rookie Team, but a coaching change at William & Mary opened up the opportunity for the Cats to pick him up as a transfer.

Though NCAA regulations forced Audige to sit out the 2019-20 campaign, he still had the opportunity to practice with his teammates and familiarize himself with Collins’ system.

“We wanted to have him last year,” Collins said. “We saw it in practice. He was always the best player on the other team when we were preparing for Big Ten teams. We could see the talent was there.”

Audige’s efforts certainly paid off. Collins named Audige to the starting lineup against the Golden Lions and the sophomore guard didn’t disappoint, scoring 11 points across a team-high 15 minutes of first half action. Audige teamed up with junior Miller Kopp to burn Arkansas-Pine Bluff from behind the arc with a combined five three-pointers, while also finding success driving to the rim.

Audige picked up where he left off in the next frame, dropping five quick points in the half’s opening minutes as NU extended their halftime lead over the Golden Lions into a blowout. With the Cats in control, Collins dipped back into his rotation and dialed back Audige’s minutes. Audige still finished as NU’s second-highest scorer and had an efficient 6-for-12 field goal shooting performance, along with five rebounds.

After the departure of fellow transfer guard Pat Spencer following the 2019-20 season, Audige’s offensive performance bodes well for a team that ranked last in the Big Ten in points per game. With a tough slate of Big Ten games on the horizon, Audige is focused on building off the Cats’ early momentum.

“I came here to impact winning,” Audige said. “Northwestern is an underdog program and I’ve been an underdog my whole life, so just taking on that mantra and impacting winning as much as we can.”

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