Rapid Recap: Northwestern 85, Lindenwood 40


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Graduate transfer Elyjah Williams and sophomore Ty Berry converse on the court. The Wildcats defeated Lindenwood in their lone exhibition of the preseason.

Patrick Andres, Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern’s 2021-22 season began in earnest Thursday with an exhibition against Division II Lindenwood, the Wildcats’ final tune-up before opening against Eastern Illinois on November 9.

NU steamrolled the Lions, overcoming a sloppy shooting start and forcing Lindenwood into 22 turnovers. The Cats won 85-40, led by 17 points, five rebounds and two assists from sophomore guard Ty Berry.

The Lions gave a good account of themselves in the early going, taking a 5-2 lead behind baskets from Romelo Burrell and Jacoby Ross. They quickly went cold, though, and two buckets from junior guard Boo Buie gave NU a 6-5 advantage at the under-16 timeout. From there, the Cats embarked on a 14-3 run punctuated by graduate student Elyjah Williams’s layup.

NU’s freshman guards — Julian Roper II, Casey Simmons and Brooks Barnhizer — all saw action in the opening minutes. Simmons started the game, while Roper II checked in early in the first half and contributed a rebound and an assist. Williams was the most impactful newcomer of the first half, racking up 11 points and 10 rebounds in his first game after transferring from Fairleigh Dickinson. All told, 10 players saw playing time for the Cats in the first 20 minutes, during which NU took a 33-15 lead despite shooting just .333 from the field.

The Cats turned the game into a laugher right away in the second half, as five quick points from junior forward Robbie Beran staked NU to a dagger 10-0 run. Senior forward Pete Nance recovered nicely after some first-half struggles, tallying 10 points in the final 20 minutes. Barnhizer got in on the fun, going on a personal 5-0 run with a little over 10 minutes to go to stretch the Cats’ lead to 59-27.

The Cats hit 50 points on a Berry free throw with 13:47 left, 60 on a Buie three with 8:34 left, 70 on a Berry three with 5:33 left, and 80 on a Barnhizer layup with 2:13 left. NU held Lindenwood to just 25 points in the second half, scoring 52.


1. Northwestern makes new friends…

The Wildcats’ youth movement made their presence known in the exhibition. Simmons, a four-star recruit out of Milton, Massachusetts, started and played a physical 13 minutes. Roper II drained a three-pointer in the first half and finished with five points, four boards and an assist. Even Barnhizer pitched in with 10 points and two rebounds. Much of NU’s success this season will hinge on how well the freshmen integrate with the veterans.

2. …but keeps the old

Nance immediately flashed familiar habits, repeatedly deploying his trademark skyhook in a mixed bag of a first half. He made just three of his first eight field goals, but finished the game with 16 points on six for 14 shooting from the field. The exhibition was kinder to Beran — whose 10 points fell nine points short of his 2021 season high of 19 against Chicago State — and Berry, who looked much improved in scoring 17 points and pulling down five rebounds.

3. Williams starts his homecoming by overpowering Lindenwood

He may have come from the Northeast Conference, but Williams’s dominant post moves gave testament to the overwhelming talent gap between Divisions I and II. The Evanston Township graduate stole the ball from the Lions’ Brandon Suggs seconds after checking in with 14:42 left in the first half. He missed his first shot attempt, but powered home a driving layup for a three-point play moments later. Williams finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and two assists.

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