Men’s Basketball: Energized Northwestern dismantles Chicago State in historic game


Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern

Chase Audige takes a shot. The redshirt sophomore recorded the first 20-point game of his Northwestern career on Saturday.

Patrick Andres, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

Holiday festivities seem to have begun early for Northwestern this year, as the Wildcats produced another big offensive performance in a blowout win over Chicago State.

NU (2-0) demolished the Cougars (0-5) 111-66 in the program’s third-largest margin of victory since 1950. The win followed the Cats’ 92-49 triumph over Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the season opener on Wednesday. Both point totals exceeded any of the Cats’ totals from the 2019-20 season, and the Chicago State victory represented NU’s largest regular-season offensive output since winning 121-116 at Tulane in December 1966.

On this afternoon of milestones, redshirt sophomore Chase Audige recorded the first 20-point game of his career with the Cats. The game also marked his best scoring night in nearly two years — the last came when he tallied 24 in a 93-88 William & Mary loss to UNC Wilmington in January 2019.

“Chase is a great player,” said freshman guard Ty Berry, who finished the game with 14 points. “He brings a lot of energy and a lot of different options to our table. We try to do the best we can in coming in, playing hard, bringing a lot of energy and trying to get buckets for our team.”

The victory moved NU to 13-0 against Chicago State all-time, marking the Cats’ highest number of wins against an opponent to which it has never lost.

Coach Chris Collins, who has been on the sidelines for the last four of those contests, said he was open to continuing competition against teams from the Chicagoland area in future seasons, but he also stressed NU’s relative lack of scheduling flexibility at this point in the year.

“We’re always working around Christmas holidays and final exam weeks,” he said, pointing to the Cats’ normal early-season commitments — namely the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and the Gavitt Games, the latter of which was canceled this year. “(Playing more Chicago-area teams) is a good thing in theory, but for us, it becomes really hard to schedule because of what is already put out for us by our conference.”

The Cats defeated their Chicagoland foes because of contributions from up and down the roster in Saturday’s game.

Sophomore forward Robbie Beran and junior forward Miller Kopp scored 19 and 16 points, respectively, and sank three three-pointers apiece. Junior forward Pete Nance added 12 points and eight rebounds, while redshirt junior guard Anthony Gaines pulled down a team-high 12 rebounds. Berry overcame a scoreless first half, in which he missed all five field goals he took, to lead all NU scorers in the second.

“It’s a collective approach,” Beran said of NU’s multi-pronged attack. “Everybody does a good job in practice of sharing the wealth. Once we have that and there’s not just one guy everybody needs to key into, that makes us a pretty difficult matchup.”

Collins said he wants the team to continue its uptempo approach in the future.

“I want to play faster,” he said. “We have a lot of skill guys that can spread the floor… I want to be able to get out and run, I want to be able to score points. We’re gonna shoot a lot of threes, that’s just how we’re built.”

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