Men’s Basketball: Boo Buie scores a career-high 30 points in win over No. 4 Michigan State


Daily file photo by Joshua Hoffman

Boo Buie drives to the basket. Buie’s 25 points led Northwestern past Minnesota for its first win since December 26, 2020 at Ohio State.

Gabriela Carroll, Social Media Editor

Men’s Basketball

Boo Buie: a Spartan slayer.

The sophomore guard scored a career-high 30 points Sunday against No. 4 Michigan State, beating his previous career-high of 26 against the Spartans in 2019. This time, he led Northwestern to a 79-65 victory and earned his first career Big Ten Player of the Week honor.

After missing two crucial free throws at the end of the Wildcats’ loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 9, Buie said he spent four hours in the gym, trying to make 1,000 free throws and 500 three-pointers.

“It was just to get back and just forget about it,” Buie said. “I knew going in there and just being in there for a couple hours would just get my mind off of the game. It allowed me to move forward and to continue to show my talents.”

Buie moved forward in a big way on Sunday, leading NU to its first win against an AP top-5 since 1979. The guard shot 7-for-8 from the free throw line and 5-for-6 from behind the arc, with a game-leading four assists.

With some of Buie’s usually high-scoring teammates, like junior forward Miller Kopp and sophomore guard Chase Audige, combining for only 9 points, the Albany, N.Y. native provided an offensive spark to beat late Michigan State runs.

“You find out a lot about your group by how they bounce back and how they learn and how they mature,” coach Chris Collins said. “You saw that tonight — the growth in (junior forward) Pete Nance, the growth in Boo Buie… guys that played a lot of minutes last year and were up and down with their play.”

Back in 2019, the game against the Spartans was Buie’s breakout performance. The guard led NU’s rally to keep the game competitive, boosting the team with 19 second half points. After that, Buie fluctuated in and out of the starting lineup and ended last season averaging over 10 points per game.

Against Michigan State on Sunday, Buie led an offense that scored 1.215 points per possession, the most the Spartans have allowed in 87 games. He’s averaging over 15 points per game, and is shooting 12-for-25 from three.

Buie attributed his strong play to his experience in the league last year. Throwing him in the deep end as a point guard helped him learn what to expect, he said, adding that he felt more comfortable in his game and could focus on scoring.

The Cats’ lack of success last year also helped Buie grow both in basketball and personally, he said. That experience pushed him to take advantage of his time off during the early days of the pandemic.

“The whole quarantine shutdown of the country really helped me focus,” Buie said. “It allowed me to just separate myself and work out alone and just study the game a lot. I know how hard it is to win in the Big Ten and, and what it takes now: going in with the right mindset and preparation from the coaches.”

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Twitter: @gablcarroll

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