Rapid Recap: Northwestern 80, Eastern Illinois 56


Gabe Bider/Daily Senior Staffer

Junior guard Boo Buie drives to the hoop in Northwestern’s season opener against Eastern Illinois. Buie scored 10 points in the first half alone as the Cats rolled over the visiting Panthers.

Gabriela Carroll, Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern basketball is back, opening their season with a resounding 80-56 win over Eastern Illinois.

The Wildcats (1-0) started off slow. NU didn’t get its first lead of the game until just over 4 minutes in, but never trailed again after freshman guard Casey Simmons hit two free throws to pull the Cats ahead 8-7.

In the first half, NU struggled to pull away from the Panthers (0-1). The Cats led by as many as 15 points at times, but Eastern Illinois continued to make runs.

Junior guard Boo Buie led the team in scoring in the first half with 10 points, including two makes from behind the arc. Senior forward Pete Nance added eight points of his own.

After missing the exhibition game due to injury, junior center Ryan Young played in the Cats’ opening matchup. Young scored seven points, and returned as a key rebounder on the boards, securing three offensive and four defensive rebounds.

NU’s shooting percentage for the game wasn’t great, shooting just 40.6 percent from the field. The Cats exited the first half up 40-29, and kept pulling away after that en route to the 80-56 final score. Buie scored seven points and had four steals, and sophomore guard Ty Berry broke out for eight points, including one three pointer.


So, what’s Northwestern’s rotation going to be?

Northwestern’s first starting lineup of the year: junior guard Boo Buie, Casey Simmons, sophomore guard Ty Berry, senior forward Pete Nance and junior forward Robbie Beran. Graduate forward Elyjah Williams, senior guard Ryan Greer, Young and freshman guard Julian Roper also saw more than ten minutes of playing in the game.

The most notable missing name is junior forward Chase Audige, who’s out with an injury but will almost definitely step back into the starting lineup when he returns.

Strong debuts from the team’s new members

All three Cats newcomers that saw playing time made the most of it. Roper’s defensive play helped NU go on one of their first runs, and he secured three steals and four rebounds and scored five points. Williams scored nine points and secured 4 rebounds, and Simmons scored six points and secured two rebounds.

Simmons’ physicality was noticeable, especially in the first half, as he drew two fouls early when NU was starting slow.

Northwestern’s defensive play shines

The Cats had five blocks and 12 steals, and the defensive play, especially from Nance, Young, Beran and Williams in the paint was noticeable. Beran kicked off a 6-0 run by intercepting an inbound pass and starting an offensive breakaway.

But Nance and Young both found themselves in foul trouble late in the game, with Nance picking up four fouls by the ten minute mark of the second half.