Rapid Recap: No. 21 Ohio State 81, Northwestern 71

Robbie+Beran+dunks.+The+sophomore+forward+was+held+scoreless+in+Wednesday%27s+game+against+Ohio+State.

Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Robbie Beran dunks. The sophomore forward was held scoreless in Wednesday’s game against Ohio State.

Gabriela Carroll, Web Editor


Men’s Basketball


It’s been a miserable two weeks for Northwestern. Four straight losses have derailed a dream Big Ten start which saw the Wildcats (6-5, 3-4 Big Ten) take down the likes of Michigan State and Indiana and culminate in a win over Ohio State on Dec. 26.

Against the Buckeyes, (10-3, 4-3 Big Ten) the last team NU beat before this recent skid, the Cats had a chance to start a new winning streak. It didn’t happen. After falling behind early, the Cats almost pulled even late in the fourth quarter before Ohio State reasserted its dominance, winning by a score of 81-71.

Early in the game, the Cats’ only scorer was sophomore guard Chase Audige. He on his own went toe-to-toe with the entire Ohio State roster, out of necessity.

In the first half, the only starter to score field goals was Audige. Sophomore guard Boo Buie and sophomore forward Robbie Beran went scoreless, and junior forwards Pete Nance and Miller Kopp’s only points came from the free throw line.

Nance ran into foul trouble in the early goings, picking up two quick fouls, and then picked up two more early in the second, so he played more limited minutes.

Aside from Audige, much of the offense came from sophomore center Ryan Young, who was a force at the post, scoring nine points and securing two offensive rebounds.

In the second half, the Buckeyes got up by as much as 13 points, but unlike in their last game against Illinois, NU rallied back and tightened the lead to as little as five with stronger offense.

The lightning rod in the second half was Kopp, who scored just two points in the first half and exploded in the second for 14.

With a few made threes by Nance and Buie, the Cats were able to pull within one, but couldn’t make a shot after as Ohio State went on a 10-0 run in the following two minutes that buried NU for good.

Takeaways:

1. The Cats are still struggling to shoot from three.
Coach Chris Collins said one of the team’s biggest assets offensively was three point shooting. Early in the season, it looked like that was true. The Cats sjot 40 percent from behind the arc on the season. But in the first half against Ohio State, they hit on ust 9 percent of shots from three.

Kopp and Buie are two of NU’s top three point shooters, shooting 51.4 percent and 41.5 percent from three on the season. But in the first half, neither hit a three point shot despite taking five between the two.

Midway through the second, Kopp finally started to heat up from three, hitting two contested shots to bring the Ohio State lead down to five. But missed three point shots in the final minutes kept NU from executing the comeback; the team slumped to a 23 percent rate from behind the arc.

2. Audige and Kopp continue to shine.
Audige scored all of the Cats’ first 11 points, and 21 points in the first half alone. When nothing else was working offensively, Audige made jumpers from all over the floor, including NU’s only three of the first half.

He smashed both his season-high with the Cats and career-high point totals, with 25 points.

But in the second half, it was Kopp who led the rally back to stay competitive late, hitting two crucial threes midway through the game to kick the offense back in gear. He almost had a double double, and finished the night with 16 points and 9 rebounds.

3. Boo Buie scores his first points of the year.
Buie hadn’t yet scored in 2020 coming into the game, and didn’t see much success for most of the game, scoring his first points of 2020 on a pair of free throws with just five and a half minutes to play. He then banked a three two plays later to pull NU within one. But even Buie’s brief offensive resurgence couldn’t withstand the late game Buckeye run and pull out the win.

He finished the night with just five points on one for nine shooting. Buie helped out in other ways, grabbing five assists and three rebounds in the process. But Buie will need to produce more consistently on offense to take NU to the next level.

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Twitter: @gablcarroll

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