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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Men’s basketball trounced at Northwestern

Wildcats ride second-half surge to snap Huskies’ five-game win streak
Joey Trella
Junior guard Zarique Nutter goes for a layup in men’s basketball’s game against Illinois Tech on Nov. 13. Nutter posted 15 points in the Huskies’ 89-67 loss to Northwestern on Monday. (Joey Trella | Northern Star)

EVANSTON – After leading its Big Ten opponent by 1 point to end the first half, NIU men’s basketball (5-2) fell apart Monday in the second half and was blown out by Northwestern University (5-1) 89-67.

NIU led 42-41 at the half despite zero points from the bench. Just four Huskies combined for NIU’s 42 first-half points. The Wildcats’ bench outscored NIU’s bench 22-8 on Monday.

“Our bench hasn’t played really particularly well,” said NIU men’s basketball head coach Rashon Burno. “Just look at the bench scoring, we gotta get better as a group, we gotta get healthy.”

Sophomore forward Xavier Amos lit up Welsh-Ryan Arena in the opening frame, scoring 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting and 3-for-3 from downtown. Amos ended the night with a career-high 26 points.

“X (Amos) had a phenomenal night,” Burno said. “If he can continue to play at this level, I think we’ll be a good ball club.”

The Huskies struggled to get stops in the final 20 minutes, leading to their second-half demise. The Wildcats shot a blazing 17-for-24 in the second half and outscored the Huskies 48-25 to close the game.

“We didn’t make them miss at the end of the day,” Burno said. “If I told you, minus the name of the opponent, you’re going to shoot 47% from two, 38% from three you would say ‘I got a fair chance to win.’ We didn’t get stops. The defense let us down in the second half.”

Junior guard Zarique Nutter recorded 15 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in the loss.


Graduate student guard Boo Buie – a 2022-23 All Big Ten First-Team honoree – led the charge for Northwestern. Buie finished with 23 points and 7 assists on 8-for-11 shooting.

Five Wildcats scored in double digits to torment the Huskie defense. Behind Buie, 7-foot senior center Matthew Nicholson contributed 15 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Northwestern took advantage of NIU’s 11 turnovers by scoring 17 points off of them. The Huskies forced just 7 Wildcat turnovers in the loss.


Burno provided updates on key injured players senior forward Harvin Ibarguen and senior guard Keshawn Williams post game.

“Day to day,” Burno said. “He (Ibarguen) was a huge miss. Not having his energy and toughness around the basket hurt us.”

Williams, who has not played since January due to an ACL tear, is set to return next month.

“I will say he’ll be playing in the month of December,” Burno said.


The Huskies will take an eight-day break following Monday’s loss and will face Indiana State University next at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 at the Convocation Center. Live stats will be available via SIDEARM Stats, and radio broadcast can be accessed via The Varsity Network.

“You can’t settle,” Amos said. “We won against DePaul;, we can’t settle for that. We have to keep playing and look forward to the next game. Can’t take a step back or a foot off the pedal when you’ve won a few in a row.”

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