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Rapid Reaction: Northwestern upsets No. 15 Indiana 84-83 to win its second straight game

A phenomenal all-around game from Northwestern.

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Indiana Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

It’s only January, and Northwestern fans are already thinking about March.

The Wildcats (12-3, 3-1 B1G) may have put on their best offensive performance of the season in Bloomington, upsetting the No. 15 Hoosiers (10-5, 1-3 B1G), 84-83, to continue building their momentum following a win over Illinois on Wednesday night.

Boo Buie led Northwestern with 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting, with Chase Audige adding 19 points on 5-of-14 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. He also added eight assists and a whopping six steals. Ty Berry also joined in with a double-double.

The ‘Cats had no answer for Indiana’s Jalen Hood-Schifino, who dropped 33 points on 12-of-17 shooting, including five three-pointers. Trayce Jackson-Davis also put up a remarkable statline, posting 18 points, 24 rebounds, eight assists and four blocks.

The biggest margin that allowed the Wildcats to prevail was the turnover battle, which Northwestern won, 16-7. Because of this, the ‘Cats earned 25 points off turnovers to the Hoosiers’ six.

The ‘Cats got on the board first after a steal by Matt Nicholson led to a Robbie Beran shot in the post. Both teams went back and forth in the highest-scoring start the Wildcats have had against an opponent of the Hoosiers’ caliber.

With the match tied at nine, Audige drew two defenders into the post, enabling a skip pass that found a wide-open Berry in the corner for three. This forced an Indiana timeout, with Northwestern up 12-9. Through the first several minutes, Northwestern was 5-of-7 from the field, while the Hoosiers were also shooting 50%.

Out of the break, Buie laid a shot up high off the window. Seconds later, he picked off a Hoosier and took it to the rack for another easy layup. After a missed three by Indiana, Audige once again found Berry in the corner, who knocked down his second three. The Wildcats led 19-9 via a 10-0 run over just 90 seconds.

The Hoosiers struck back with an interior bucket, but it mattered not as Beran chucked up a moving three that looked as gorgeous coming down as it did going up. Through six and a half minutes, Northwestern was a spectacular 4-of-5 from deep, leading by 11.

Despite the deficit, Jackson-Davis continued to make an impact on the floor. He blocked Tydus Verhoeven on one end, then got a tough finish to fall on the other. Then, Audige once again made his presence as a two-way player felt, picking a pass and taking it the other way for a dunk. The Wildcats kept shooting the lights out of the ball, as Buie hit Northwestern’s sixth three of the half. In just 11 minutes of play, NU had surpassed its previous total from the entire first half against Illinois.

Out of the timeout, Brooks Barnhizer stole away a pass to force the Hoosiers’ seventh turnover, turning it into a Buie to Matthew Nicholson alley-oop. However, the ‘Cats weren’t able to extend their lead very far as the Hoosiers awoke from their slumber to the tune of seven straight points, capped off by a Miller Kopp three. With 6:34, Northwestern still led by 10, 34-24, but the momentum began to swing back the other way.

After a miss by Audige, Trey Galloway knocked down a three to extend Indiana’s run to 10-0 as Assembly Hall roared. Jackson-Davis had a prime opportunity to continue the momentum, but Nicholson slowed the pace with a great block. Audige seemingly made a triple on the other end to stop Northwestern’s four-minute scoring drought, but his left foot stepped out of bounds, causing NU’s first turnover of the day. Indiana’s defensive switch had worked in slowing the Wildcats, as they fell off their hot start.

Hood-Schifino began to heat up, as he hit a plethora of shots to cut the deficit to just five. He torched Northwestern’s defense in the first half, scoring 12, while Jackson-Davis was on his way to a triple-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists alone.

As the half ticked down, Jackson-Davis got a tough layup to fall, but the Hoosiers couldn’t get back on defense, and Audige found Nicholson for a transition dunk just before time expired. Despite the cold stretch, Northwestern led Indiana at halftime, 41-34.

Northwestern opened the half with six straight points, but Indiana continued to stay close as Jackson-Davis ran rampant on both ends. However, he wasn’t the only one putting on a defensive clinic. Audige continued his field day with his fourth steal, as Northwestern was winning the turnover battle, 12-1. After he added a pair of free throws, the Wildcats once again led by 15. An and-one by Hood-Schifino turned that into 12.

Buie climbed the ladder for an outstanding rebound, then split the defense for a bank layup to go back up by 14. Then, Galloway struck back to force a Collins timeout with 12:42 to go. Immediately out of the break, Buie retaliated with a high floater off the glass to earn his 17th points.

A pair of free throws by Hood-Schifino cut the deficit to just 10, but Audige immediately negated it with a three. He wouldn’t stay in the limelight long, though, as Hood-Schifino did the exact same. The Hoosier hit his career high in points, then found his teammate Tamar Bates for a triple to decrease Northwestern’s lead to eight. As the Wildcats turned the ball over twice and Indiana made six of its last seven shots, the pendulum once again began to swing the other way with 8:22 to go.

With a strong chance for momentum, the combination of Nicholson and Beran blocked Jackson-Davis three consecutive times to hold the Hoosiers at 57. On the other end, Buie seized his opportunity with a layup and Beran knocked down a pair of free throws to reinstate the 12-point lead. With several key buckets, Buie’s maintained his run of putting the team on his back to the tune of a team-leading 25 points. NU led by 13 with under four to go.

With less than two minutes left, Jackson-Davis scored on an up-and-under, then helped force a turnover by Nicholson on the other end. After Berry fouled out with a double-double, Hood-Schifino converted on a free throw, but missed the second to bring it within eight. Audige also went 1-of-2, then Jackson-Davis made a layup to bring the score to 79-72. Julian Roper missed a pair of free throws, then Hood-Schifino drilled a deep three to make the deficit just four.

The door was still open for the Hoosiers, and after two free throws by Audige, Hood-Schifino made a reverse layup to keep it close. Audige made two more, and Hood-Schifino once again was magical with a three to make it a three-point game with 1.4 seconds left. Buie nailed one final free throw, and it was over, despite a Galloway full-court buzzer beater.

Northwestern, riding a hot hand, will host Rutgers on Wednesday at 8 p.m. CT at Welsh-Ryan Arena.