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Rapid Reaction: Northwestern outmatched by No. 4 Purdue 80-60

That was not pretty.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The ‘Cats got outclassed.

Northwestern (9-8, 2-6 B1G) fell to a Jaden Ivey-less Purdue (16-3, 5-3 B1G) in a game where the Boilermakers were in control from start to finish, losing 80-60.

Boo Buie led the way for the Wildcats, finishing with 17 points, four rebounds and three assists while shooting 5-for-8 from three. Pete Nance and Robbie Beran added nine points a piece. Nance attempted just three shots.

For Purdue, it was the Sasha Stefanovic show. He ended the game with 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting (he took all 10 shots from beyond the arc). Zach Edey, who caused problems down low for the ‘Cats all day, added 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Chase Audige opened Purdue’s first possession with a steal, but was unable to turn it into points after he committed an offensive foul. A few possessions later, Julian Roper II, who was starting his first ever game for the ‘Cats, cut down the lane and finished a layup for the game’s first points.

Edey, who stands in at 7-foot-4, was dominant on the glass early. He scored Purdue’s first points of the game and got the Boilermakers’ their first points of the game. At the first media timeout, Edey was 2-for-2 from the field with four points and four rebounds. Stefanovic had Purdue’s only other points on a three. With 15:49 left in the half, Northwestern trailed 7-6.

Coming out of the break, a well-drawn play from Collins and Co. failed to result in points after Audige missed an open corner three. One play later, on the other end of the court, Audige picked up his second foul of the game with 15:25 left in the first half, forcing him to sit.

As the half went on, Stefanovic hit another three for Purdue to put the Boilers up by four. The ‘Cats were on a two-and-a-half minute-long scoring drought until Ty Berry sunk a huge three to keep them within a point. The next play, however, Berry fouled Trevion Williams under the basket, and Williams finished a layup to convert an impressive and-one. At the second media timeout, the Boilermakers led 15-11.

Unfortunately for Northwestern, Purdue’s hot shooting continued as the half went on, with freshman Caleb Furst draining a three for the Boilers to put them up seven. The scoring went back and forth a bit more, but by the under-eight timeout, the Boilermakers had extended their lead to seven. On top of that, the Wildcats were on another two-plus minute scoring drought.

Following the timeout, things only got worse for Northwestern. The Wildcats continued to struggle offensively, as they were unable to find open looks and turned the ball over multiple times. Defensively, they couldn’t keep up with Purdue’s size and shooting prowess, with Stefanovic adding another three and Williams hitting another post shot. Collins was forced to call timeout after Purdue went on a 9-0 run to go up by 14.

With 5:17 left in the first half, Nance hit a three, ending a near five-minute drought for NU. Scoring continued to go back-and-forth late in the half, with fouls piling up as well. Berry picked up his third on a questionable call and had to sit the final two minutes of the half, while in the final minute, Edey dunked one home and Stefanovic hit another deep three, sending the ‘Cats into the half down 12.

As the second half got underway, Northwestern came out on fire. First, Nance hit an impressive shot in the post. One possession later, Beran nailed a jumper as the shot clock dwindled. After that, Buie sunk a deep three and Purdue’s lead was cut to five.

The comeback stalled there, though, as the Boilermakers extended their lead back to eight on a three from Isaiah Thompson. Scoring continued back and forth, but soon the ‘Cats found themselves without Audige, who came down awkwardly on his ankle and was forced to leave the game.

Things once again got worse for the Wildcats down the stretch. Right after a timeout by Collins, Nance picked up his fourth foul of the game with just under 12 minutes to play, sending him to the bench. At the under-12 media timeout, Purdue led 54-42.

Following the break, a second-chance layup from Ryan Young got NU back within 10, but yet another three from Stefanovic on the other end of the floor put PU back up by 13. Two possessions later, Eric Hunter Jr. got in on the scoring for Purdue, hitting a three to give Purdue a 16-point lead — its largest of the game.

The Wildcats weren’t giving up, as Buie hit three straight threes in just over a minute to get his team back within eight points. Rather than calling a timeout, though, Matt Painter let his squad play, and the Boilers proceeded to score five in a row to go up 69-56.

As time wound down, the action was largely uneventful. Each team scored a couple of points here and there, but no huge runs took place. When it was all said and done, the ‘Cats fell to Purdue by a final score of 80-60.

Northwestern returns to action on Wednesday, January 26, when they take on Michigan in Ann Arbor at 5:30 CT.