Northwestern glides to second win of the season against NIU
By Patrick Winograd
Northwestern men’s basketball (2-0) stayed on cruise control with a 63-46 win against Northern Illinois Friday night.
Senior Robbie Beran led the way for the ‘Cats with 15 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Ty Berry was a major contributor to Northwestern’s victory as well. The Kansas native finished with 11 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, resulting in his first ever double-double.
Northern Illinois took a 6-5 lead less than four minutes into the game, but Northwestern never trailed after that point. Beran had eight of Northwestern’s first 14 points as the ‘Cats jumped out to a 14-8 lead with 14:36 left in the first half. For the Huskies, Keshawn Williams scored seven of Northern Illinois’s first 13 points and pulled them within one point of the ‘Cats. But Northwestern responded with a 7-0 run to take a solid 21-13 lead.
When Northern Illinois brought the game back within a four-point margin at 23-19,Northwestern went on yet another 7-0 run to extend the lead to 30-19 with 4:24 left in the first half. Boo Buie put the exclamation point on the first half, slamming in his first career dunk with five seconds left and boosting the ‘Cats to a 36-27 lead going into halftime.
Although Northern Illinois was able to keep the game relatively close throughout the first half, the ‘Cats’s pulled away to a more comfortable lead in the second. Northern Illinois cut the lead down to 48-43 before experiencing two scoring droughts, more than four minutes each, resulting in a complete offensive collapse. Northwestern took advantage of the Huskies’ struggles on offense, closing the game out on a 15-3 run.
Northwestern finished off with a 17-point win, their biggest lead of the night. After Northern Illinois scored 27 points and shot 11/23 from the field in the first half, Northwestern held the Huskies to just 19 points while shooting 6/28 in the second.
Chris Collins addressed Northwestern’s strong performance defensively in his postgame presser.
“It certainly wasn’t our prettiest performance, but I thought defensively, we did our job when we needed to,” Collins said.
Northwestern’s next opponent, Georgetown, will certainly be a step up from the competition the ‘Cats have faced in their first two games of the season. However, Georgetown previously held the second-longest active losing streak in Division I, with 21 straight losses, before barely escaping with a 99-89 overtime win against Coppin State on Tuesday night.
Northwestern will need to execute another strong defensive performance to come out on top against the Hoyas on Tuesday and remain undefeated.