Men’s Basketball: Northwestern knocks down season-high 13 threes in huge win over Nebraska


Alyce Brown/The Daily Northwestern

Guard Ty Berry attempts a floater over Rutgers defender. The sophomore knocked down three three-pointers in the big win over Nebraska, 87-63.

Lawrence Price, Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern’s offense had a gruesome first half on Saturday against No. 24 Illinois. In a defensive battle, neither team reached the 25-point mark by the break.

But a week later, the Cats (11-10, 4-8 Big Ten) embraced the saying “strike while the iron is hot” against Nebraska (6-17, 0-12 Big Ten) — yet this time, the “iron” never cooled off. 

Behind junior guard Boo Buie’s 16, the team dropped 30 more points than last weekend by halftime, scoring 49. Alongside NU’s bench — which tallied 24 of the team’s 49 — the largest factor was its three-point success. 

“That gave us the separation,” coach Chris Collins said. “Anytime you can hit double figure threes in a half, and couple it with some pretty good defense, we had that 20-point lead there, and it was just really important.”

The Cats were on fire from deep in the first half against Rutgers on Tuesday, knocking down six of 13 threes. However, the team took it to another level in the first half against the Cornhuskers, going 10 for 23 from three, two threes shy of its season high in a game. This dominance carried NU to a 22-point lead by the half, as Nebraska couldn’t find the same success in the category, shooting 4 for 11.

This three-point shooting served as a driving force for the entire offense overall. While Nebraska held the lead 10-8 early on in the contest, sophomore Ty Berry proceeded to knock down back-to-back threes, returning the momentum to the Cats’ side. Following Berry’s first make, the team went on a 15-3 run, extended their lead to 13 and forced the Cornhuskers to call a timeout.

“In the first half in particular, I sensed that their defense was really packed in and we made the right plays,” Collins said. “We hit so many shots early and we were able to stop them from making a big run.”

It didn’t take much time for the team to pass its season high in threes, as Buie continued to make it rain from deep. He hit two more in the first minute of the second half and led the team with six to go along with his season high of 27 points.

Although the Cats went silent from deep after redshirt junior Chase Audige’s three-pointer with 15:24 to go, getting nothing to fall from behind the arc for the rest of the game, it extended the team’s lead to 24. 

Even with the large lead, NU is no stranger to the big cushion, nor making room for the other team on the couch after letting up a 24-point lead to Rutgers last game. This time, though, the Wildcats closed the door completely, producing on the offensive end and maintaining its lead for the rest until the buzzer, winning the matchup by 24, 87-63 — the program’s largest Big Ten road win since 2009.

NU’s 13-three performance is a hard task to recreate, but it does provide insight to a trick or a skill the team has up their sleeve. The Wildcats set their previous season-high of threes in a game against Penn State exactly a month ago with 12, so it’s possible this type of electric deep shooting at a high clip may just be a once-a-month occasion. However, after knocking down 10 versus Rutgers and now 13 against Nebraska, this could become a new normal for the Cats’.

“The thing I was really proud of was we hit 10 threes in the first half,” Collins said. “We really don’t have that one guy every night that we lean on like some of the teams do to get 20 to 25, it can be a different guy each night.”

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