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Northwestern ends exam break with game vs. Division II foe

Sportsnaut
Dec 5, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA;  Northwestern Wildcats forward Elyjah Williams (21) dribbles away from Maryland Terrapins forward Julian Reese (10) during the second half at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA; Northwestern Wildcats forward Elyjah Williams (21) dribbles away from Maryland Terrapins forward Julian Reese (10) during the second half at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern looks to extend its winning streak to three games when it hosts Division II Illinois-Springfield on Monday in Evanston, Ill.

The Wildcats’ game against DePaul on Saturday was canceled due to positive COVID-19 results within the Blue Demons program.

Northwestern’s game against Illinois-Springfield will count on the Wildcats’ record, but it will be an exhibition game for the Prairie Stars.

The Wildcats, who spent this week taking final exams, are coming off a 70-52 win over visiting NJIT on Dec. 12.

Ryan Young scored 13 points and Chase Audige added 11 for the Wildcats, who also got 10 points and seven rebounds from Pete Nance to improve to 7-2 after finishing 9-15 last season.

Boo Buie added five points and seven assists, while Ty Berry had nine points for Northwestern, which led by as many as 24 points in the second half against the Highlanders.

The Wildcats also forced 16 turnovers that they converted into 17 points and held the Highlanders to 29.1 percent shooting (16-for-55) from the field.

“I thought our defense carried the day,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “When our offense was struggling and we weren’t shooting the ball well, we could go to Ryan Young and get some easy baskets. It’s just a good win overall. Can we play better overall? I think we can.”

For the season, Nance leads the Wildcats in points (16.4 per game), rebounds (8.0 per game) and blocks (2.0 per game), while Buie averages a team-high 6.1 assists to go along with 15.3 points per game. Audige averages 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

The Prairie Stars (4-6) are coming off a 78-68 overtime victory against Purdue Northwest (3-9) on Sunday.

Chris Hamil scored a game-high 26 points, including the game-tying 3-pointer with 18 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime tied at 64. His jumper with 4:04 left in the extra session gave the Prairie Stars a lead they didn’t relinquish.

He also had six steals, while teammate James Kelley had 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Jesus Castillo posted 12 points and 10 rebounds for Illinois-Springfield, and Jack Weber chipped in 10 points.

For the season, Kelley averages a team-high 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, with Chase Robinson averaging 12.1 points. Weber contributes 9.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest, while Hamil averages 10.8 points per game.

–Field Level Media