Men’s Basketball: The magical season continues — Boo Buie’s game-winning floater carries Northwestern to 64-62 victory over No. 14 Indiana


Gabe Bider/The Daily Northwestern

Senior guard Boo Buie drives in the paint. Buie recorded a team-high 21 points, with six rebounds and four assists, including hitting the game-winning shot in Northwestern’s 64-62 victory over Indiana.

Aayushya Agarwal, Reporter

Letdown spot? Not with this team. Coming off of a historic win against then No. 1 Purdue, Northwestern (19-7, 10-5 Big Ten) continued its magical season Wednesday when it hosted No. 14 Indiana (18-8, 9-6 Big Ten).

In a battle of the second-place Big Ten teams, the Wildcats had their second consecutive momentous upset, outlasting the No. 14 Hoosiers 64-62. Led by senior guard Boo Buie’s 21 points and redshirt senior Chase Audige’s 14 points, the Cats swept the season series.

Audige’s running layup opened the scoring in the contest. After Indiana subsequently went on a 6-0 run, Audige nailed a pullup three to cut NU’s early deficit to one. Soon after, the Cats started to find their offense, with senior forward Robbie Beran’s hookshot and senior guard Boo Buie’s crafty driving layup.

According to coach Chris Collins, Buie’s tremendous performance Wednesday has been vital to the team’s success down the stretch of the 2022-23 season. In addition to his 21 points, the senior guard recorded six rebounds, four assists and two steals. 

“Just big time,” Collins said. “He’s been that way all year. He’s getting to his spots. He’s not only scoring but finding other guys. I’d be pressed at this point to find that he wouldn’t be a first-team all-league guy.” 

As it has been all season, NU’s defense was lights out early on. Buie’s steal on the Hoosiers’ first offensive possession and two forced turnovers, thanks to effective double teams down in the paint, saw the Cats force three turnovers in the first four minutes of the game. Midway through the first half, NU forced a total of five turnovers. By the intermission, the Cats limited Indiana to shooting 6-for-21 from the field, going scoreless from deep on five attempts. 

With the teams exchanging leads back and forth over the course of the first half, Audige was on another planet early, drilling back-to-back pullup threes and giving the Cats their biggest advantage at five at the time. Midway through the first half, the redshirt senior had eleven points on 3-for-3 from deep.

“I was just reading the defense,” Audige said. “(Indiana) was going under a lot of screens, so I made them pay and shot it. My first couple of shots felt good, but (Boo) picked everybody up and did what he had to do.” 

The Cats’ ability to draw fouls and get to the charity stripe helped extend their lead in the first half. Buie’s four made free throws courtesy of two Indiana technical fouls and junior guard Ty Berry’s running layup off an inbounds play and two made free throws, capped a 23-6 NU run spanning over ten minutes. By the seven-minute mark of the first half, the Cats were already in the bonus. In Wednesday’s victory, NU went 14-for-14 from the charity stripe.

Collins was impressed with his team’s ability to continue its high level of play, especially after Sunday’s emotional victory. The Cats took care of the basketball on Wednesday, only having four turnovers. 

“In the first half, we played fantastic,” Collins said. “We had energy coming off the game on Sunday. To come out that first half and have that kind of energy and to turn them over and to get them into our traps and then come down was very impressive.” 

Out of the locker room, the two teams continued to trade baskets. Buie assisted Audige’s three, while junior center Matthew Nicholson assisted Beran’s three, ensuring the squad held their lead. While the Hoosiers went on a 22-9 run and cut the Cats’ lead down to seven midway through the second half, Buie kept the squad composed, with two floaters after a four-minute scoring drought. 

As NU saw its lead dwindle to as low as five down the stretch in the second half, key defensive plays kept Indiana in check. Steals by Berry, Buie and Barnhizer along with Nicholson’s monster block were pivotal at moments when it seemed as though the Cats were on their way to a heartbreaking loss. 

With a roaring visiting crowd making it difficult for NU to get stops down the stretch, it was players outside of the Cats’ starting backcourt who continued to exchange buckets with the Hoosiers. Nicholson and graduate student forward Tydus Verhoeven made layups alongside Berry’s pullup three, giving the Cats a four-point lead with two minutes left in play. 

After that, it was the Buie show. With the Cats having their lead cut to as low as two within the final 30 seconds, the senior guard put NU back up by four with an iso-running layup late in the shot clock. After the Cats lost the lead they held since the 13-minute mark of the first half, Buie kept his cool by empathically scoring a game-winning floater. 

After two impactful statement victories this week, Collins is optimistic about NU’s chances of making the NCAA tournament, feeling fortunate for being in the position the Cats are currently in. 

“Everyone talks about tourney talk, tourney talk, tourney talk, and we’re going to the tourney, so that’s great, “Collins said. “Now we can just focus on getting better and continuing to figure out how we can be the best and find some wins down the stretch.” 

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