Northwestern comes back to upset No. 1 Purdue

EVANSTON, Ill. − What started out at a rapid pace slowed into a defensive war between the Big Ten’s top team and one trying to maintain its place in second in the league standings.

Northwestern, which had been 0-18 all-time before Sunday against teams ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, made the race for a Big Ten championship a lot more interesting with its 64-58 comeback victory over the top-ranked Boilers at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

With five games remaining, Purdue (23-3, 12-3) has a two-game edge in the loss column over a congested pack that includes Indiana, Northwestern, Rutgers and Illinois.

3 stars

Boo Buie, Northwestern: Buie was aggressive attacking the basket. It resulted in him getting blocked twice by Zach Edey, but also helped him score 26 points despite going just 1-for-6 from 3-point range.

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Chase Audige, Northwestern: Audige made two huge 3-pointers in the final three-and-a-half minutes, the second giving the Wildcats a 59-57 lead with less than two minutes remaining.

Zach Edey, Purdue: Edey was mauled all game and was able to take advantage by going 10 of 13 from the free throw line. The Boilermaker center finished with 24 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Key moment

Northwestern struggled from beyond the arc and Purdue was able to limit most of the Wildcats’ misses to one-and-done. With 3:33 to go, Buie corralled an offensive rebound, kicked it to Audige in the corner and Audige made the most of the second-chance opportunity.

That proved to be the moment Purdue couldn’t overcome. The Boilermakers never made another field goal and scored just one point the remainder of the game.

By the time a Purdue turnover led to Brooks Barnhizer scoring a transition layup to go ahead by four points with 37 seconds to go, Purdue went into desperation mode.

Key stat

Purdue had 16 turnovers while shooting just 36.2 percent, a recipe for disaster. Four of those turnovers came in the final 1:22.

Sam King covers sports for the Journal & Courier. Email him at sking@jconline.com and follow him on Twitter and Instagram @samueltking.

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