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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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Rapid Recap: Northwestern 76, Michigan 62

Anna Watson/The Daily Northwestern
Boo Buie celebrates against Michigan Thursday. Buie broke the program’s all-time scoring record in the win over the Wolverines.

Four days after outlasting Indiana for its second conference road win of the season, Northwestern returned home for a Thursday night clash against Michigan. 

With the Wolverines earning the win in the teams’ last seven matchups, the hosts looked to finally secure a victory over a Michigan squad sitting at the bottom of the Big Ten standings. Despite succumbing to an ice-cold start, the Wildcats cruised to a double-digit victory.

Graduate student guard Boo Buie opened up scoring on the very first possession, receiving a nice feed from senior center Matthew Nicholson for a layup. The Wolverines, however, instantly retaliated, going on a 16-3 run while NU converted only one of its next 12 shot attempts.

The rest of the period was a chaotic one for the ’Cats. With Michigan up seven and 10:22 to go in the half, graduate student guard Ryan Langborg headed to the locker room with a lower body injury, sitting out for the next five minutes.

Less than 30 seconds later, Buie hit a 3-pointer for his 2,039th career point to break the program’s all-time scoring record set by John Shurna back in 2012.

Still, the visitors held a lead that grew to as much as 11. However, another Buie 3-pointer capped NU’s 13-4 run and tied the game at 30 apiece with over three minutes remaining. 

The squads then traded baskets until Langborg’s last-second corner three allowed the ’Cats to take its second lead of the game and enter the intermission up 37-34.

Immediately following the break, the Wolverines overcame two straight baskets from junior guard Brooks Barnhizer to gain a one-point advantage. Senior guard Nimari Burnett scored eight straight points for the visitors during this 10-2 run.

Michigan’s reign was short-lived, however, as Langborg and Buie launched a 14-3 run that culminated in a 57-47 lead midway through the half.

NU never looked back. Despite the Wolverines’ best efforts, the deficit never ventured below nine points as the hosts gained control over virtually every aspect of the game.

The ’Cats converted on nearly 60% of their second-half field goal attempts, finishing the game with a 14-point lead.

Here are three takeaways from NU’s victory over Michigan.

1. Buie makes history

Heading into Sunday’s matinee against Indiana, Buie sat only 18 points from tying Shurna’s program career scoring record of 2,038 points.

Though the graduate student guard was presumably frustrated to manage only 14 points on a meager 3-of-14 shooting, one bright spot remained — he could now break the record in front of his home crowd.

He did just that. With 9:59 remaining in the first half, the preseason All-American drained a deep 3-pointer to finally climb atop the scoring leaderboard. 

It was a long time coming for Buie, who joined the team in 2019 as an under-recruited, unproven 19-year-old. Thursday marked his 142nd game for the ‘Cats, second in program history behind Drew Crawford’s 143 games played.

2. NU overcomes its slow start

With everyone in Welsh-Ryan Arena seemingly fixated on Buie’s quest to break the record, the ’Cats didn’t have much else to celebrate throughout much of the first half. 

NU began the game shooting at a modest 2-of-13 clip, and Michigan jumped out to a 16-5 advantage within seven minutes.

Fortunately for the hosts, they finally were able to catch fire from long range, finishing the period having gone 7-of-14 from downtown.

After missing his first three shot attempts, Barnhizer knocked down three 3-pointers to cut into the deficit. Buie and Langborg also supplied two 3-pointers each to help the ’Cats squeeze by with a lead entering the half.

On the other end of the court, the Wolverines enjoyed their own stellar performance from beyond the arc, going 6-of-8 from deep during the first half.

3. Backcourt trio of Buie, Barnhizer and Langborg take over

Holding a three-point lead at the break, coach Chris Collins looked to his guards to put the game away.

With Buie as the offense’s main facilitator, NU gave the ball away just twice en route to an impressive second-half scoring output. In addition to his record-breaking performance, Buie collected seven assists, marking his 12th game this season with seven or more dimes.

Langborg tallied his second consecutive 20-point outing, leading the ’Cats with 20 points and five makes from behind the arc. 

Barnhizer led NU’s effort on the glass, logging a double-double of 19 points and a game-high 12 boards.

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Twitter: @lucaskim_15

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