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Rapid Reaction: Northwestern downs No. 1 Purdue 92-88 for second straight season in absolute thriller

Twice as nice.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Northwestern David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Collins, The Engineer. Or, better yet, The Magician.

For the second straight season, Northwestern (6-1, 1-0 Big Ten) knocked off No. 1 Purdue (7-1, 0-1 B1G) 92-88 from a jam-packed Welsh-Ryan Arena.

In a true classic, Boo Buie paced the Wildcats with 31 points and nine assists. Ty Berry was a critical asset with 21 points of his own, while Ryan Langborg poured in 20. For the Boilermakers, Zach Edey posted 35 points and 14 boards, while Fletcher Loyer had 17, and Braden Smith totaled 12 points and nine assists.

Berry got the Wildcats on the board after a slow start for both teams, cashing in a steal from Buie. But the Boilermakers answered quickly, with Smith whipping a pass to Loyer for a four-point play. From there, Berry tossed a lob to Matthew Nicholson, who spiked one down with one hand. Edey got on the board at the 17:29 mark with a floater over Nicholson, but Langborg responded hastily with a good contested corner three. Two free throws from Edey and a jumper from Barnhizer made it 10-9 Purdue at the under-16.

After the reprieve, Edey jammed one over Blake Preston, and Loyer cashed a straightaway three to augment the away lead to six. Buie glided through two defenders for a converted layup, but NU stayed cold, held scoreless for over three minutes. A three from Camden Heide and a foul on Edey sent it to the under-12 with the Boilermakers leading 20-11.

Two makes from the stripe gave PU its biggest advantage at 22-11, but Buie finally put an end to the 7-0 sprint with two good free throws. A quick-trigger three from Berry was Northwestern’s first make in eight tries, but Purdue stayed on the attack with a lay-in from Caleb Furst and a trey from Lance Jones. With 7:30 left in the first half, Matt Painter’s side led 29-16, and those in black and gold were raucous.

After Collins called timeout, the ‘Cats answered hastily, as Buie swished a three and then sank a floater shortly thereafter. Subsequent to an illegal screen on Mason Gillis, Berry had a sweet Euro step layup to cut the lead to eight. The fancy finishes continued with an up-and-under from Preston against Edey, but Painter’s side never relented. The two sides continued exchanging baskets, and the score sat 36-27 Purdue with 3:44 to go in the first half.

Edey’s free throw barrage ensued after the pause, and the reigning National Player of the Year then swatted a Buie layup. However, Langborg was green again from the same corner, which cut the lead to eight and revved up the NU student section. No. 5 added a pull-up jumper following two FTs from Gillis, and Edey was assessed for two fouls in 21 seconds.

A miss on a wide-open corner three from Jones sent both sides into the half with the Boilermakers leading 40-32. Purdue outrebounded Northwestern 25-12; as for the stars, Edey contributed 14 and eight rebounds, while Buie tallied 11 points.

Much like to start the contest, Berry got the goose eggs off the board in the second with a friendly bounce. The senior added another bucket off an inbound, and with the lead down to four, the blackout crowd erupted. Langborg then beat the shot clock with a tough, angling shot, but Edey reclaimed his presence with a thunderous dunk. An Edey second-chance skyhook took some air out of the building until Buie got contacted, and Edey was called for a goaltend. The Wildcats trailed only 46-45 with 15:15 to go after a nifty turnaround floater by No. 0, and Painter was forced to call TO.

Edey (who else?) made one more free throw out of the break, but Buie flat out took over on an isolation, spinning and-one that gave Northwestern a 48-47 lead. Following two Edey misses, the big man gave PU back the lead — but it was short-lived, as Barnhizer punctuated a dunk after a terrific cut. From there, Smith made two straight buckets, and Purdue led 53-50 as Collins signaled for a timeout.

Langborg knotted things up on three via a feed from Nicholson, and after a stoppage for blood, Barnhizer chipped in with a free throw. Yet, Nicholson was called for his fourth foul at the 9:44 mark, and Loyer made it 55-54 with a second-opportunity bank shot. The Princeton transfer stayed hot with a crossover into an elbow jumper, but Edey jammed one home. The tide stayed with the Boilermakers following a charge on Barnhizer; Smith tossed a no-look pass to Furst, who yammed it in. At the under-eight, it was 59-58 Purdue with Buie posting two made shots from the stripe.

Trey Kaufman-Renn went 1-for-2 from the line, and Berry buried a straightaway three that made it 61-60. Kaufman-Renn again made one of two, and No. 4 for Purdue split once more after Luke Hunger’s fourth whistle. But Langborg again untied things with a three, and Painter called timeout down 64-62 with 6:29 left.

Edey equalized the efforts after Barnhizer’s fourth foul, but Buie slipped one in to Hunger, who finished but missed the free throw. From there, Loyer banked in a floater, and Hunger hit a straight-on three. The reigning Wooden Award winner made one free throw, securing a free chicken sandwich for the fans. From there, a Loyer foul allowed Hunger to sink one from the free throw line. With 4:25 to go, it was Northwestern leading 70-67.

The officials remained busy, as Hunger fouled out, but Edey made only one shot. Nicholson promptly reached the five-foul threshold, too, and Edey tied it at 70-70 with 3:52 left.

After a Buie missed floater, Preston was fouled by Edey, and good on one free throw. Jones missed an open trey, and the ball stayed with the Wildcats — at which point Langborg induced contact from Smith. The transfer swished in both, and NU led by three with three minutes to go.

Langborg remained a tremendous playmaker, intercepting Edey’s pass and getting whacked on the other end. No. 5 uncharacteristically missed both, and Jones got a tough hanging shot to go. A charge on Berry got the Purdue faithful on its feet, and Gillis made a short layup to give PU back the lead at 74-73. With Northwestern on offense, a lob from Berry to Preston was errant, and Berry couldn’t convert a jumper off the curl.

Another three from Jones rimmed out, and after a break, a Barnhizer steal translated into Buie shooting two free throws. The fifth-year missed the first but got the second to tie it at 74-74 with 48 seconds left.

With only 3.6 ticks to go, Buie sank a signature floater that gave Northwestern a 76-74 lead. Purdue called timeout, inbounded and burned another TO. With 2.9 seconds remaining, Edey got the inbound and went up high for the game-tying layup. Buie’s last-second heave was off, and to overtime we went.

Smith fed Edey to get on the board first in OT, and after a Buie miss, he committed his fourth foul, sending Loyer to the line. The guard was good on one end, but Buie atoned for his mistake with a rapid trey to tie it at 79-79. A give-and-go between Edey and Loyer allowed for No. 2 to sink a three of his own, but Berry rallied courtesy of an unreal ball fake.

Preston bumped Loyer, and the sophomore nailed two from the line. Next, Buie fed Preston underneath, who was fouled by Edey. The Liberty transfer, though, made one. It was 84-83 Purdue with 2:29 on the clock in OT.

A no-look try from Smith clanked off Edey, and Berry raced to the tin to induce a foul. The senior guard was true on both, and NU led 85-84.

Preston had solid positioning on the other end to knock it away from Edey, and with the clock running, Buie stopped and popped for a floater that grew the lead to three. The Wildcats’ momentum ballooned when Barnhizer set his feet for a charge with 1:17 left.

Buie was off on a lefty floater, and Edey backed down Preston for a decisive hook that shrank the lead to one with 34.1 left. After securing a successful inbound and dribbling around, Barnhizer was fouled, and hit just one free throw, which kept it a two-point game.

Purdue got the rock back and fed Edey down low, but Preston swatted it cleanly. From there, Buie sank two free throws; the game seemed over with Northwestern leading 90-86.

In classic fashion, though, Purdue answered: Smith drew contact while shooting on the line. The sophomore made both, which trimmed the lead to two. The Wildcats then inbounded the ball, and Berry ran around until he was fouled with 6.1 left. Berry cashed in both, and kept it a four-point game with 6.1 left.

The Boilermakers’ Hail Mary was recovered by Northwestern, and the clock ran out, with NU prevailing for a second straight time over Purdue.

The Wildcats have a nine-day break after an anxiety-inducing matchup. Collins’ side returns to action Dec. 10 against Detroit Mercy from Evanston.