Rapid Recap: Northwestern 82, Fairleigh Dickinson 46


Joanne Haner/Daily Senior Staffer

Boo Buie dribbles the basketball. The Cats rolled to their fourth victory of the season.

Patrick Andres, Daily Senior Staffer

Northwestern played host to Fairleigh Dickinson Thursday night in its final non-conference dress rehearsal before the Legends Classic, looking to stay unbeaten at the close of a week in which numerous Big Ten teams have sustained upset losses.

No such upset befell the Wildcats, who easily rolled over the Knights 82-46 to secure NU’s first 4-0 start since the 2015 season. Redshirt junior center Ryan Young led all scorers with 20 points to pace the Cats to victory.

In contrast to NU’s wins over High Point and New Orleans, the Cats got off to a rollicking start against Fairleigh Dickinson. Senior forward Pete Nance and junior forward Robbie Beran hit their first two and three field goals, respectively, and accounted for NU’s initial 12 points. The Cats led 17-8 at the under-12 media timeout.

NU’s starters left their fingerprints all over an 11-0 run around the midpoint of the first half. Junior guard Boo Buie and sophomore guard Ty Berry sank three-pointers, and Buie punctuated the explosion by throwing freshman guard Casey Simmons a nifty no-look pass that became a Nance alley-oop.

The Cats benefited from the Knights’ poor shooting (29.2 percent from the field and 57.1 percent from the line in the first 20 minutes) to take a 40-20 lead into halftime. Despite Beran and Nance’s early success, the leading scorer for both teams in the first half was Young, who bullied Fairleigh Dickinson for 12 points and three rebounds.

It was more of the same to start the second half, as Nance — on his way to a double-double — set the tone with a three-point jumper 14 seconds into the final 20 minutes. A Young layup with 13:29 to go stretched NU’s lead to 30, and the Cats were well on their way to another dominant win.

Graduate student forward Elyjah Williams, playing against his former team of four years, could muster no points and five rebounds in 22 minutes of action.


1. Berry’s leap continues

Coach Chris Collins touted Berry’s offseason improvement on both sides of the ball, and his growth was on full display against the Knights. Berry tallied six points and a pair of three-pointers on five attempts. He pulled down three rebounds, the second time this season he’s hit that mark after reaching it just twice in 2021. He also flashed his defensive prowess with two steals.

2. Ryan Young, bench big, continues to shine

He has yet to start a game this season after making five in 2021, but Young’s impact on NU so far has been unquestionable. Six days after putting up his highest point total (20) since December 2019 against High Point, Young established his presence in the paint against Fairleigh Dickinson to the point where he drew regular double teams. His ability as an offensive weapon off the bench will go a long way toward determining the Cats’ fortunes against bigger and better teams.

3. NU turns a troublesome trend of slow starts inside out

The Cats have had fans biting their nails in their current run of buy games, leading High Point 34-33 at the half and trailing New Orleans 37-35 at halftime in their second and third contests of the season. NU emphatically squashed any chance of a Knights upset, racing out to a 15-2 lead and holding Fairleigh Dickinson below double-digit points until 11:29 was left in the first half.

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