Men’s Basketball: Northwestern fends off Purdue Fort Wayne 60-52


Katie Chen/The Daily Northwestern

Senior guard Boo Buie stares down a Purdue Fort Wayne defender. Buie led the team with a season-high 28 points in NU’s 60-52 victory.

Aayushya Agarwal, Reporter

It wasn’t pretty, but Northwestern (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten) got the job done. After defeating Georgetown on the road, the Wildcats returned home and took down Purdue Fort Wayne (2-2).

Led by senior guard Boo Buie’s season-high 28 points, NU fended off the Mastodons, 60-52.

Coach Chris Collins said he was excited about his team’s ability to make up for offensive struggles on the defensive end. 

“We won the game with our defense,” Collins said. “That was a team that scored 110 points in their last game. To hold them to 52 points and 8 for 35 shooting for three, that’s definitely our identity and calling card.” 

Both teams started out slowly. The Cats led 9-7 after the first official timeout, before combining with Purdue Fort Wayne for a scoring drought of over three minutes. Junior guard Ty Berry’s jumper ultimately broke NU’s offensive struggles. 

Transition plays powered by excellent defense helped the Cats build momentum. A timely steal from redshirt senior guard Chase Audige ultimately led to a 10-3 NU run halfway through the first half. Buie capped off the final minutes of the first half with two timely threes, and the Cats’ 19 forced turnovers propelled NU to a 31-24 advantage at the intermission.

Buie said he was proud of the team and his personal effort in the game. 

“I had my shot falling (tonight),” Buie said. “My teammates and coaches kept trusting me to go out and make the right play. I was fortunate enough to make some shots and help my team win the game.” 

Following the intermission, Buie went on a personal 6-0 run, highlighting a four-point play. He scored a three-pointer at the top of the key through contact, which extended the Cats lead to 37-24  — their highest of the game. NU continued building upon its lead, following an Audige three-pointer —  his first field goal of the game. 

After the Cats had a game-high, 16-point lead four minutes into the second half, they went cold offensively. NU scored just six points in the following 11 minutes, allowing the Mastodons to rally and get within four points of the Cats. 

Collins said Friday was an important win over a program that will likely win more than 20 games and hear its name called on Selection Sunday. 

Back and forth baskets between the two teams diminished NU’s once double digit lead.  At one point, Purdue Fort Wayne got within two points of the Cats.

Nevertheless, Buie took the charge for the remainder of the game. The Albany, New York native went on to score NU’s final seven points, ultimately fending off the Mastodons down the stretch. 

As the Cats travel down to Cancun to face Liberty on Tuesday in the Cancun Challenge, Buie said he and his team want to continue proving skeptics wrong.

“There’s still games left out there in Cancun that we want to go get and win a championship,” Buie said. “We’re not satisfied here… We’re still the same team that no one believes in, and we’re going to keep that chip on our shoulder and go out there and compete. (Cancun) is a business trip.” 

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