Rapid Recap: No. 4 Purdue 80, Northwestern 60


Gabe Bider/The Daily Northwestern

Boo Buie dribbles up the court against Wisconsin. Buie had a team-high 17 points in Northwestern’s 80-60 loss against No. 4 Purdue.

Alex Cervantes, Reporter

In their third consecutive game against a Top 10 opponent, Northwestern looked to mirror its success against then-No. 10 Michigan State and score a second upset win. 

That reality seemed within reach, especially after the Boilermakers’ catalyst, guard Jaden Ivey, was ruled out of the game with a hip injury. However, the depth and size of No. 4 Purdue proved too much for the Wildcats on Sunday, falling 80-60. 

The Wildcats (9-8, 2-6 Big Ten) found themselves in early foul trouble with senior Pete Nance picking up a foul. In his first start for NU, it was first-year guard Julian Roper II who got the Cats on the board first, with a backdoor layup at the 18:25 mark. However, 7-foot-4 Boilermakers center Zach Edey’s presence on the interior was a difficult challenge for NU in the early stages. Edey had four points, opening up a 7-6 lead for Purdue at the under-16 timeout. 

The Boilermakers (16-3, 5-3), behind their massive frontcourt of Edey, Trevion Williams and Caleb Furst, won the battle on the offensive glass early. Purdue’s ball movement and superior size forced the Cats into some foul trouble in the first half, with Roper II, Chase Audige and Ty Berry all entering the intermission with at least two personals. 

A Furst 3-pointer from the top of the key gave Purdue a 20-13 lead. NU continued to fight against a physical Boilermaker defense, and a pair of free throws from sophomore center Matthew Nicholson cut the lead to five points. But an Edey touch shot over Nance and Buie drew the lead to 22-15 at the under-eight timeout.

Purdue continued to hammer NU out of the break, extending the lead with a 7-0 run behind a Sasha Stefanovic three, a Williams hook shot and an Ethan Morton dunk. The Cats didn’t bend, however, answering with a 7-2 burst to cut the score to 31-22 at the final media timeout of the half. 

Mackey Arena erupted after an Edey dunk and Stefanovic 3-pointer sent the Boilermakers into halftime with a 40-28 lead.

The Cats were seemingly shot out of a cannon to start the second period, stunning Purdue with a 12-5 run, including five points from Roper II. However, a pair of early Nance fouls and two Boilermakers 3-pointers put Purdue up 48-40 at the under-16 break. 

Following a Roper II contested 3-pointer miss, the wheels began to come off. A successive sequence of a putback layup from Purdue’s Mason Gillis, a layup from Williams and a Eric Hunter Jr. steal and transition dunk gave the Boilermakers a 54-42 lead as an irate Chris Collins called timeout. The problems continued to pile on as Nance picked up his fourth foul at the 11:45 mark.

Stefanovic continued his hot start from the first half — he made four 3-pointers in the opening period — nailing a triple from the left wing to increase NU’s deficit to 17. The 6-foot-5 guard led all scorers with 22 points. 

But, as has been the case for much of the season, the Cats wouldn’t go quietly into the night. A 9-0 run, led by junior guard Boo Buie, briefly cut the lead to single digits. Yet, once again, a Stefanovic triple all but nullified NU’s efforts. The Boilermakers closed the half with a fury of buckets, ultimately winning by 20, despite the absence of Ivey.


  • Northwestern falls flat on the glass

Purdue is one of the best rebounding teams in the country, snagging 41 a game before Sunday’s contest. The duo of Edey and Williams combine to average 15.9 rebounds per game. All this to say, the Boilermakers made their presence felt on the glass early and never looked back. Purdue outrebounded NU 17-9 in the first half and 16-12 in the second half. 

  • Pete Nance’s limited touches hinder Cats progress offensively

Nance, NU’s leading scorer at 16.6 ppg, had a team-high seven points at the intermission, except he attempted only two shots. While the Cats struggled to get the ball inside, it not only limited Nance’s touches, but also led to empty possessions of perimeter dribbling and passing, capped off by a contested jumper or 3-pointer. This team will have success as the senior forward does — he had nine points on three shot attempts against Purdue while hampered with foul trouble. Ultimately, he’s your best player and you’ve got to get him more touches.

  • Purdue frontcourt of Edey and Williams prove too much for NU

Boilermakers coach Matt Painter is blessed with a pair of All-Big Ten talents in the frontcourt and they have blended exceptionally well, despite neither featuring on the court at the same time. The pair combined for 15 points in the first half on 7-for-13 shooting from the field. Both Edey and Williams finished the game with double-doubles of 12 points and 10 rebounds. This team has depth at nearly every position and illustrated that against the Cats.

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Twitter: @CervantesPAlex 

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