Rapid Recap: Rutgers 64, Northwestern 56


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Junior forward Pete Nance drives against Rutgers. Nance helped the Cats scare the Scarlet Knights in the final minutes, but the late push wasn’t enough.

Patrick Andres, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

Northwestern hosted Rutgers Sunday evening in Evanston, looking for its first win since December 26 and an end to its seven-game losing streak. The Wildcats played an unranked opponent for a second consecutive game for the first time since mid-December, when NU opened the 2020-21 campaign with four straight games against unranked teams.

The Cats (6-9, 3-8), however, have not been able to recreate their magic from that time. Despite two spirited comeback attempts, NU fell to the Scarlet Knights (10-6, 6-6) 64-56, dropping its eighth consecutive contest while Rutgers picked up its third straight win.

The Scarlet Knights overran the Cats in the early going, taking a 10-2 lead into the under-16 timeout and forcing three NU turnovers. Sophomore guard Boo Buie’s bucket with 18:15 to go stood as the Cats’ only points of the contest for nearly four minutes, before redshirt sophomore center Ryan Young scored four straight.

Rutgers stretched the lead to 31-11 before NU embarked on a 13-0 run late in the first half, propelled by six turnovers from the Knights, including three traveling violations. Sophomore guard Chase Audige tallied eight points in the final 7:29, rebounding from a slow start that saw him incur a technical foul.

After seeing its lead shrink to 34-29 at the intermission, Rutgers regrouped and outscored the Cats 10-4 to open the second half. Knights guard Geo Baker tallied his team’s first four points to reach double figures, and guard-forward Ron Harper Jr. picked up his first two points of the evening.

Both teams then reverted to their earlier carelessness with the basketball in the second half’s middle section, combining on eight turnovers in the first 10 minutes. The Knights stabilized their lead, going up by 14 with 7:51 to play as NU lapsed into a stretch in which it hit just one of nine field goals and Audige, junior forward Pete Nance, freshman guard Ty Berry and sophomore forward Robbie Beran landed in foul trouble.

The Cats, however, strung together a 10-0 run to move within 55-50 with 2:46 to play, with Nance quickly putting up his first four points of the contest to complement his nine rebounds. Harper Jr. hit a jumper to give Rutgers a seven-point cushion, but Nance responded by banking in a midrange shot. Knights guard Jacob Young came back with his own midrange jumper, and Rutgers was on its way to a road victory.


1. Turnovers giveth, and turnovers taketh away

Sloppiness with the basketball by both teams dictated the flow of the first half, as Northwestern suffered bad-pass turnovers from Buie and Beran in addition to a shot-clock violation in the first five minutes. Six Rutgers turnovers allowed the Wildcats back into the game late in the first half. The two teams finished with 38 combined turnovers, the third time this season an NU game has hit the 30-turnover threshold.

2. NU gets help from the bench

Young left his fingerprints all over the game, scoring seven first half points on just three field goal attempts and finishing in double figures for the second straight game. Berry added NU’s first three-pointer of the contest, and redshirt junior guard Anthony Gaines pulled down six rebounds.

3. Audige and Kopp search for consistency

It was a rough showing for the Cats’ two leading scorers this season, as Audige and junior forward Miller Kopp combined to make just 11 of their 26 field goal attempts and three of their 11 three-point attempts. Audige’s hot streak late in the first half kept NU within striking distance, but he made just three of his seven second-half field goal attempts. Kopp’s 5 for 13 outing was his fourth shooting percentage below 40% in his last six games.

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Twitter: @pandres2001

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