Rapid Recap: Northwestern 78, Georgia 62


Jonah Elkowitz/Daily Senior Staffer

Freshman guard Casey Simmons attempts to fire a pass in the Cats’ game against High Point. Simmons tallied seven rebounds in Northwestern’s 78-62 win over Georgia.

John Riker, Sports Editor

November basketball may not seem consequential in the scope of the long college basketball season, but Northwestern took the opportunity to make a statement in the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ.

Playing in the Legends Classic third place game, Northwestern enjoyed one of its best halves of basketball in recent memory against Georgia, jumping out to a 20-point margin at halftime. With 22 points from junior guard Boo Buie and 17 off the bench from junior center Ryan Young leading the way, NU (5-1, 0-0 Big Ten) won its first-ever contest against the Bulldogs (2-4) and former Indiana coach Tom Crean in a 78-62 win.

Georgia and NU kept it close early on. Buie left the game just four minutes into regulation clutching his elbow, though he returned to action four minutes later to hit a go-ahead three-pointer.

Buie’s three sparked a game-changing 17-6 run that put the Cats firmly in control. Treys by Buie, sophomore guard Ty Berry and freshman guard Casey Simmons gave NU traction on offense, while the Cats’ defense stifled Georgia’s playmakers and forced 10 turnovers. NU didn’t cool off, either, riding their hot shooting stroke to a 43-23 halftime lead.

The Bulldog offense picked up in the second frame, with junior forward Robbie Beran on the wrong side of yet another Legends Classic poster dunk. Georgia made eight of its first 12 shots in the second half after managing just six makes in the first half, and the Bulldogs battled back into contention with a sizzling 22-8 streak.

With an opportunity to put the game away, the Cats instead got sloppy. After a clean first half performance, NU squandered scoring opportunities with careless turnovers and couldn’t take advantage of a two-minute scoring drought between the two teams.

In the final minutes, the padding provided by Cats’ first-half proved too much to overcome for the Bulldogs. NU sealed the deal with perfect 13-13 shooting from the free throw line and rolled to a 16-point victory.


1. Wildcats catch fire from downtown
Early on, NU made it clear that the three-pointer was a priority. In the first 12 minutes of regulation alone, seven different Cats hoisted a shot from downtown and 12 of NU’s first 18 field goal attempts were threes. The strategy worked, gloriously. The Cats hit eight three-pointers in the first half, ballooning an early lead to a 20-point margin by halftime. Senior guard Ryan Greer even banked in a halfcourt shot at the halftime buzzer. Georgia’s defense spotted NU open looks, and the Cats took full advantage.

2. Buie notches second straight 20-point game
For just the second time in his career and first time since his freshman season, Boo Buie has exceeded 20 points in consecutive games. Buie, who has struggled with consistency and had five points or fewer in seven Big Ten games in 2020-21, has made up for the absence of junior guard Chase Audige both as a scorer and a distributor. Eight makes on 21 field goal attempts isn’t exactly efficient, but Buie knows his role and inspired confidence with his Legends Classic performance.

3. NU impresses in Legends Classic
The Cats’ loss in the Legends Classic semifinal relegated them to the third-place game, but NU has definite momentum after three really impressive halves of basketball. The Bulldogs are hardly SEC powers on the hardwood, but the Cats had a 20-point margin over a Power Five team 20 minutes into the contest. That’s after almost stealing a win from March Madness contender Providence in the final minutes. Wake Forest and Maryland, the Cats’ next two opponents, are challenging road matchups — and possible reality checks — for a team that was shooting lights-out on Tuesday evening.

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