Men’s Basketball: No. 5 Purdue marshals star power, sends Northwestern to second straight loss


Chirag Bachani/The Daily Northwestern

Pete Nance fights for a rebound. Nance had 12 points in Northwestern’s 70-64 loss to No. 5 Purdue.

Patrick Andres, Sports Editor

Northwestern and No. 5 Purdue played their roles from three decades ago to a tee on ‘90s Night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. All that was missing was Glenn Robinson.

The Boilermakers took advantage of critical second-half misses by the Wildcats and a well-rounded performance from center Zach Edey to defeat NU 70-64 Wednesday night. It marked the Cats’ second straight loss, following a 73-66 loss to then-No. 13 Illinois Sunday afternoon. 

“It was a hard-fought, physical battle,” coach Chris Collins said. “Give Purdue credit, they’re a really good team — a team that, in my opinion, has a chance to win the whole thing.”

The game stayed close for much of the evening, although NU never led after Purdue forward Caleb Furst’s layup with 12:30 left in the first half. The Boilermakers were hampered by a poor shooting start — they made just one of their first six field goal attempts — and took a 32-28 lead into the intermission.

Gradually, Purdue shook the Cats, going on a run to stretch its lead to double digits 2:01 into the second half. NU couldn’t draw within fewer than five points in the second half, and by the time junior forward Robbie Beran made a layup to make it 69-64, just seven seconds remained in the game. 

The Cats’ key offensive pieces struggled: Buie was just 3-for-10 from the field, while redshirt junior guard Chase Audige was held scoreless in 18 minutes of action. Redshirt junior center Ryan Young collected eight points, but spent time in the locker room in the second half after walking off the court holding his finger gingerly. 

Beran answered the bell for NU, leading the Cats with 13 points and pulling down six rebounds. It was his sixth game in double figures this season, surpassing his five games with 10 or more points a year ago. 

“We knew coming into this game Robbie was going to be key,” Collins said. “He didn’t just settle for shooting threes, I thought he had some really good drives. Robbie’s a glue guy for us.”

NU couldn’t produce a consistent answer to the Boilermakers’ star power, in spite of a passable defensive performance. Edey finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Purdue. Highly touted Boilermakers guard Jaden Ivey mustered eight points despite a 2-for-12 shooting night, and both forward Mason Gillis and guard Eric Hunter Jr.  also scored in double figures. 

“Those are areas where I thought we did a decent job. You’re not going to shut those guys out,” Collins said. “Defensively, I was pretty pleased with the job we did. We just didn’t shoot the ball very well.”

The Cats can look forward to a slightly lighter schedule to close the regular season. Minnesota twice, Nebraska, Penn State and Iowa remain; none of these four teams are better than seventh in the conference standings. 

“It’s a matter of regrouping, getting back and diving into the film,” Beran said. “We still have five games in front of us. It’s just one at a time.”

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Rapid Recap: No. 13 Illinois 73, Northwestern 66

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