Rapid Recap: Northwestern 83, New Orleans 67


Joshua Hoffman/Daily Senior Staffer

Junior guard Boo Buie tussles with a New Orleans defender chasing a loose ball. Buie tallied 13 points and nine assists in Northwestern’s come-from-behind victory.

John Riker, Sports Editor

On Nov. 8, 2018, Northwestern welcomed basketball to the renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena in style, rolling to an 82-52 win over New Orleans. Upstart freshmen Pete Nance and Ryan Greer saw action, though the two combined for three points in a total of 15 minutes of action.

Welsh-Ryan Arena has seen a lot since then, both good (a share of the Big Ten regular season title for the women’s teams) and the bad (multiple 10-game losing streaks), but it was a familiar result on Wednesday night. Behind 18 points and four blocks from Nance and a 13-point, 9-assist performance from junior guard Boo Buie, the Wildcats (3-0) held off another mid-major scare and defended their home court once more against the Privateers (1-2) in an 83-67 win.

Behind the playmaking ability of Buie, NU wasted no time getting to work on offense. Buie, who entered the day as the Big Ten’s leader in assists per game with 6.5, registered assists on the Cats’ first four field goals. The Cats’ fast start extended to the three-point line, as makes by big men Elyjah Williams and Nance kept NU in control early.

New Orleans battled back with four straight shots midway through the first half to pull within a point. Sophomore guard Ty Berry answered back by swishing a three to spark a 7-0 Cats run, but Derek St. Hilaire — who finished the first half with 18 points and 15 of New Orleans’ 29 field goals — helped the visitors take a 37-35 lead going into the halftime break.

St. Hilaire and the Privateers came out firing to start the second half, extending their lead with a 9-2 run. With its offense still in disarray, NU turned to its defensive side of the floor to pull back into the game and held New Orleans scoreless for over five minutes. St. Hilaire, who finished as the night’s leading scorer, made just 2 of his 12 attempts from the floor in the second frame.

After the Cats took over the lead on a pair of free throws by freshman guard Julian Roper, the two offenses picked up, alternating baskets and the lead. NU then took to the arc to pull away, with Berry and junior forward Robbie Beran connecting from downtown. A no-look alley-oop from Buie to Nance — in which Nance dunked over a defender while getting fouled — with just over four minutes to go put an exclamation mark on the Cats’ run.

1. For the second straight game, the Cats fall behind early
Friday’s game against High Point saw NU on upset alert until strong second half performances from Nance and junior center Ryan Young paced the Cats to a 95-60 blowout win. Coach Chris Collins will take any win, but these non-conference games have not been smooth sailing early on. NU took full advantage of New Orleans’ turnovers early on, but an inability to stop St. Hilaire inside or out, along with a ridiculous 5-7 clip from three for the Privateers, allowed New Orleans to stay in the game. The Privateers wouldn’t surrender their lead until just over 10 minutes left in regulation.

2. Berry teases potential in third straight start
Berry’s role in the starting lineup may be temporary until junior guard Chase Audige returns, but he’s making a case for himself as one of the Cats’ primary offensive threats. Berry hit five of nine three-point attempts, and his three second-half treys came when NU needed an offensive boost the most. Berry also had two steals on the night, and his quick hands helped spark fast break opportunities and stifle the New Orleans backcourt.

3. Cats hit the floor
NU’s off-night wasn’t due to a lack of effort. The Cats’ backcourt, from the freshmen to the starters, put themselves on the line with fearless dives and fast break contests. NU also kept its cool, committing seven fewer fouls than its visitor and benefiting from a New Orleans technical foul. Should the Cats have needed to dig this deep to beat the Privateers? Probably not on paper, but NU’s resilience and investment were clear positives.

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