Short synopsis: Northwestern 84, Indiana 83

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Chirag Bachani

Ty Berry tries a threesome. Berry finished Sunday’s win over Indiana with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

BLOOMINGTON, IN — After a hard-fought win over Illinois State rivals on Wednesday, Northwestern (12-3, 3-1 Big Ten) continued their winning streak, riding to an 84-83 victory over Indiana (10-5, 1-1). -3 Big Ten) in Bloomington.

The Wildcats started offensively hot, scoring 30 points in the first ten minutes of the game and shooting nearly 70 percent over the arc. Robbie Beran ignited NU’s offense early and scored the ‘Cats’ first five of seven points. NU silenced a roaring crowd in Indiana and comfortably led 32-17 until the 8-minute media timeout.

However, Northwestern’s hot start was unsustainable for most of the remaining first half. The Hoosiers quickly put on a 10-0 run to cut NU’s lead to 7. The ‘Cats scored just nine points in the remaining eight minutes of the first half but still maintained a seven-point lead at the break.

A hard-fought, driving layup by senior guard Boo Buie extended the Wildcats’ lead to 57-43 almost midway through the second half. An 8-3 run by the Hoosiers over the next few minutes and a 17-5 run in the remaining three minutes of the game made things difficult for the ‘Cats. Despite this, Buie continued to produce when NU needed him most and led the team by 26 points.

Snack:

1. Chase Audige felt very generous on Sunday

To say Chase Audige lined up the Wildcats offensively would be an understatement. The New York native led the Cats offense early, setting his teammates up with open three pointers and open dunks. Audige’s first two assists were courtesy of cross-court passes to corner three from junior Ty Berry, who gave the ‘Cats an early 19-9 advantage.

The Wildcats kept ticking the scoreboard with three-pointers from senior forward Robbie Beran and sophomore guard Brooks Barnhizer set up by Audige with superb crossover passes.

After failing to provide an assist in Wednesday’s win against Illinois, Audige already had 7 assists, his most in a single half this season. By the end of Sunday’s contest, the Red Shirt Senior had 8 assists.

2. Northwestern continues to turn defense into offense

It was no secret that defensive end has been Northwestern’s calling card this season. Entering Sunday’s competition, the Cats defense ranked sixth best nationally according to Pomeroy’s 2023 College Basketball Rankings.

While the Cats’ 34 first-half points allowed was relatively high compared to previous contests, it was the points scored on offense that came from the defensive end. After a steal and fast break layup by Buie and a steal and monster slam by Audige, the ‘Cats were able to keep the scoring going when the shots weren’t from deep.

At the end of Sunday’s victory, Northwestern scored 25 points from turnovers and forced 16 turnovers.

3. The Wildcats continue to receive offensive posts from multiple players

A major factor in Northwestern’s recent success has been its ability to sustain production from a variety of players. In Wednesday’s win, the ‘Cats had three double-digit scorers, leading to a much better offensive performance than Sunday’s against Ohio State.

On Sunday the ‘Cats’ scoring spread further. By the end of the first half, NU had four players with eight or more points, leading the ‘Cats to 41 first-half points. That combined effort on the offensive side allowed Northwestern to have their second straight 40-plus point half after scoring 42 points in the second half of Wednesday’s competition.

Continued contributions from multiple players on the offensive side will set Northwestern’s confidence in the months to come. With the ‘Cats being elite on the defensive side all season, now is the time for the offensive side to match their level.

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