basketball Edit

Takeaways: Northwestern 75, Georgetown 63

Chase Audige led Northwestern with 17 points.
Chase Audige led Northwestern with 17 points. (Northwestern Athletics)

Northwestern faced their first real test of the season, as much of a stretch as it is to call Georgetown a test. Despite a rocky start, the Cats passed with flying colors, dominating the second half en route a stress-free 75-63 win.

NU went into halftime facing a two-point deficit after a sloppy first half from both teams that featured a number of turnovers and missed opportunities. Whatever head coach Chris Collins said during the break worked, as Northwestern ran away with the game in the final frame.

An 11-2 run sparked by senior guards Boo Buie and Chase Audige coming out of the under-16 media timeout gave Northwestern a cushion they would not relinquish the rest of the way. NU shot a deadeye 8-for-15 from behind the arc in the second half to outscore Georgetown 42-28.

Audige led the way for the Cats, scoring 17, with 13 coming in the second half. Fellow seniors Buie and Robbie Beran joined Audige in double-figures, with 12 and 11, respectively.

Duquense transfer Primo Spears led the way for the Hoyas with a game-high 22.

Here are our takeaways from the win that improved Northwestern's record to 3-0.

Buie bounces back: The first half could not have gone any worse for the Cats' senior captain. Buie went into the intermission shooting 0-for-6 from the field with a pair of turnovers to boot. The second half didn't start much better, when he missed a jumper and turned the ball over after a Tydus VerHoeven offensive board.

That's when everything changed. Buie played nearly flawlessly the rest of the way. He came out of the under-16 media timeout and buried a three for his second field goal to spark the game-deciding 11-2 NU run.

After his 0-for-7 start, Buie finished the game by making five of his final eight attempts, including a dagger three from the left wing after Audige picked up his fourth foul to end any hopes of a comeback the Hoyas had.

Buie finished the game with 12 points and six assists.

Audige leads the way: Northwestern's other senior guard didn't have a banner first half, either. Audige had only four first-half points, but a quick flurry that featured a pair of triples and a turnaround midrange jumper ignited the streaky shooter, and that was all it took to get the Cats across the finish line.

Audige spent much of last season dealing with a number of injuries. Now healthy, he has gotten off to a strong start in 2022.

His passing was the focal point of his efforts through two games, but his team needed someone to step up and score on Tuesday night, and he did just that.

Nicholson makes strong impression: The only reason Northwestern stayed in the game in the first half despite their sloppy play was junior backup center Matt Nicholson. The big man was a force down low in the first 20 minutes, scoring nine points to match his career high, and collecting nine rebounds, five of them offensive.

Surprisingly, Nicholson played just five minutes in the second half as Collins opted to go with VerHoeven for the majority of the half.

Still, Nicholson's impressive performance, and VerHoeven not contributing much of anything, has to have Collins thinking about shaking up the minutes in the front court.

Cats dominate the glass: Northwestern as a program has never been known for rebounding. On Tuesday night, though, the Cats flipped the script, out-rebounding Georgetown 47-31.

That's a whopping +16 margin. Making that even more impressive was the fact that, arguably, the Hoyas' biggest strength is their size. Head coach Patrick Ewing's team starts 6-foot-11 Qudus Wahab and 6-foot-10 Akok Akok, but that didn't faze the undersized Wildcats.

Nicholson's nine first-half boards paced NU, while Beran and Ty Berry added seven apiece.