Rapid Recap: Northwestern 70, NJIT 52


Jack Austin

Pete Nance and NJIT’s Souleymane Diakite contest the opening tip. Nance scored 10 points in Northwestern’s 70-52 win over the Highlanders.

Patrick Andres, Senior Staffer

Northwestern returned home Sunday after 24 days away, looking to pick up a non-conference win over NJIT and run its home record to 5-0.

The Wildcats met with little resistance from the Highlanders, dispatching NJIT 70-52 to claim a victory ahead of an important regional rivalry game against DePaul Saturday afternoon.

NU started cold, hitting just one of its first five shots, and trailed 5-2 early. Sophomore guard Ty Berry, however, drilled a three-pointer to tie the game. Junior forward Robbie Beran followed with a dunk, and a spate of Highlanders turnovers staked the Cats to an early 7-5 lead. The Highlanders recovered from their sloppy start but still trailed 15-9 midway through the first half.

NJIT guard Dylan O’Hearn swished a three immediately following the under-12 media timeout to cut NU’s lead to 15-12, but redshirt junior guard Chase Audige responded with his own three. The Highlanders continued to struggle, making just six of its first 20 field goal attempts.

The Cats gradually imposed their superior size, particularly on a pair of critical plays late in the first half. First, junior guard Boo Buie rebounded NJIT forward Da’Mir Faison’s miss and found senior forward Pete Nance on a lob for two points. A little over 30 seconds later, a Highlanders turnover resulted in freshman guard Casey Simmons’s jam that extended NU’s advantage to double digits. The Cats led 35-23 at the intermission.

NJIT forward Miles Coleman splashed a three to open the second half, stretching his point total to 14. After that, NU scored the next 14 points, pushed its lead to 49-26, and all but salted the game away.


  1. Nance plays the hits

Nance, a 17.3-point-per-game scorer entering Sunday, flexed the muscles that have made him one of the Big Ten’s most formidable players in the young 2022 season. He started the afternoon by knocking down four of his first five shots, entering double figures with 4:57 left in the first half. Nance’s final total of XXX points marked his ninth consecutive game in double figures, by far the longest streak of his career.

2. NU takes care of business against a low-major

The Cats haven’t always met this seemingly obvious benchmark of Power Five competence in previous seasons. For example, Merrimack, Radford and Hartford all topped NU in 2020. But the Cats have executed against Division I’s bottom feeders so far, downing Eastern Illinois, High Point, New Orleans, Fairleigh Dickinson and the Highlanders. It may not appear significant on the surface, but NU has avoided the land mines that can sink a potential postseason resume.

3. Well-rounded offensive performance recalls past successes

The Cats’ dream start to the 2021 season was facilitated by their depth, with quality performances up and down the roster propelling NU into the top 20 in late December 2020. Eight players – Nance, Audige, Buie, Berry, Beran, Simmons, senior guard Ryan Greer and redshirt junior center Ryan Young – tallied five points or more, and Nance, Audige, Beran and Young all eclipsed five rebounds.

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