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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Men’s Basketball: Pressure builds to top last season’s victories

File photo by Angeli Mittal
Senior center Matt Nicholson scores at the NCAA Round of 32. The Wildcats made history last season and seek to start a winning streak.

Last season was a historic one for Northwestern’s men’s basketball team. 

The Cats suffered five consecutive losing seasons before last season’s 22-12 record. Not only did NU beat then-No. 1 Purdue on home turf, but the Wildcats were seeded in the NCAA’s March Madness — only their second time competing in program history.

The Wildcats didn’t just show up, either: They danced. The team managed a 75-67 win against Boise State in the Round of 64 showdown in Sacramento, California. And even though NU lost against No. 2-seeded UCLA in the Round of 32, the margin was small at 63-68. 

But with some of the key players in last season’s victory leaving the program, the stakes are high and much remains uncertain. After taking a shot at the NBA Draft, guard Chase Audige joined the Miami Heat’s summer league team. Guard Julian Roper II will be starting his junior year as a transfer to Notre Dame, and Richmond native Robbie Beran transferred to Virginia Tech after four years as an NU forward.

On the bright side, guard Boo Buie is back for his final year of eligibility after exploring the draft process. As the other half of the Buie-Audige backcourt duo, Buie averaged 17.3 points and 4.5 assists last season — the most of any Wildcat that season.

In other standout performances from players that will be returning this season, senior guard Ty Berry doubled his number of rebounds per game from his previous performance. Senior center Matt Nicholson showed the largest improvement, averaging 1.2 blocks per game and scoring the highest number of rebounds per game.

The court also saw more of junior guard Brooks Barnhizer and the potential of sophomore  forward Nick Martinelli, who played more games than any other in his incoming class that year. And, of course, there’s Head Coach Chris Collins, who signed a three-year contract extension at the end of last season.

Collins recruited three transfers for the upcoming season, one being Chicago-area native and sophomore guard Justin Mullins, who averaged 3.1 rebounds with the Denver Pioneers last season. NU also welcomed graduate forward Blake Preston 10 days after Beran entered the transfer portal. With the highest point average at 12.7, former Princeton guard Ryan Langborg will also join the team as a graduate transfer.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @amittal27

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