Rapid Recap: Penn State 81, Northwestern 78

Boo+Buie+gestures+after+making+a+shot.+The+sophomore+guard+scored+18+points%2C+including+12+from+behind+the+arc%2C+in+Saturday%27s+loss+to+Penn+State.

Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Boo Buie gestures after making a shot. The sophomore guard scored 18 points, including 12 from behind the arc, in Saturday’s loss to Penn State.

Gabriela Carroll, Web Editor


Men’s Basketball


The winds of discontent continue to blow through Evanston. Northwestern, which came into tonight’s matchup against Penn State having lost five straight to Big Ten opponents by double digits, found a way to lose again. This time, the final margin was a lot closer — and all that more frustrating.

NU started slowly, not making its first basket until four minutes in. But when the team started scoring, they picked up the pace and built momentum offensively.

Despite a disastrous end to the half which saw NU tie the game, and then give up five straight points, including a buzzer-beating runner, all by guard Myreon Jones, the Cats performed well in the first.

The Nittany Lions turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, but NU would only score nine points off those turnovers. And the Cats were felled with foul trouble all game;sophomore guard Chase Audige picked up his fourth foul halfway through the second. Penn State also didn’t miss a free throw in the first half, and took 12.

In the start of the second half, the Nittany Lions pulled their five point lead to nine. But threes from junior forward Miller Kopp and sophomore guard Boo Buie opened the gates for a 12-0 NU run and a 47-44 lead.

After that run, Penn State responded with an 8-0 run of their own. But the Cats stayed in it, with a big three from freshman guard Ty Berry and some post work from sophomore center Ryan Young.

But this game went down to the wire. With 18 lead changes, every time one team started to find some separation, the other would claw their way back into the game. NU captured the lead late, but the Nittany Lions went on a 12-2 run to regain a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

The Cats actually had a chance to send the game to overtime late. But Audige’s airball from deep sunk the team’s fate, condemning them to a sixth straight loss in conference play.

Takeaways:

1. Boo Buie re-emerges from his shooting slump.

In the first half, Buie shot 3-for-5 from beyond the arc. Buie was essential to the rally to bring NU back into the game after Penn State jumped out to an eight point lead near the end of the half, with two consecutive three pointers.

Buie struggled in early January, going scoreless in two games and only hitting double figures in one, against Iowa on Jan. 17. In that game, he hit four threes, but he went 1-for-7 against Wisconsin on Wednesday. He returned to his strong shooting ways against the Nittany Lions, going 7-for-12 and scoring 18 points.

2. Northwestern’s three-ball finds its way back

These past few games, NU has lived and died by the three point shot, and mostly, it’s just died. Against the Badgers on Wednesday, the Cats shot 7-for-23 from behind the arc. But against Penn State, Kopp and Buie shot a combined 7-for-12 from three, and junior forward Pete Nance, sophomore forward Robbie Beran and Berry added a few of their own.

3. Northwestern still can’t win close games.

After taking a lead, NU didn’t score for over three minutes. Despite a strong rally led by Kopp and Nance, the Cats just couldn’t close it out after Penn State sank two late free throws, and sophomore guard Chase Audige missed what would have been a game-tying three point shot.

After some clutch performances early in the season against Ohio State on Dec. 26 and Indiana on Dec. 23, the Cats just couldn’t put the pieces together to pull off a win, and missed one of its best opportunities for a win. Now, they’re staring down a seven-game losing streak, lamenting the Big Ten season they thought they might have after a great December.

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