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WATCH: Boo Buie, Northwestern dispatch Eastern Illinois to open season

Oct 8, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA;  Northwestern Wildcats head coach Chris Collins speaks to the media during Big Ten media day at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Northwestern Wildcats head coach Chris Collins speaks to the media during Big Ten media day at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Third-year point guard Boo Buie delivered a game-high 17 points with six assists and five steals as host Northwestern rolled to an 80-56 victory over Eastern Illinois in both teams’ opener Tuesday in Evanston, Ill.

Pete Nance and Ty Berry added 13 points apiece for the Wildcats (1-0), who forced 19 turnovers and transformed them into 23 points. Their man-to-man defense amassed 16 steals.

Northwestern committed just 5 turnovers as they improved to 8-1 in openers with Chris Collins as the head coach.

Illinois transfer Jermaine Hamlin paced Eastern Illinois with 10 points, seven rebounds and five blocks as the Panthers lost in head coach Marty Simmons’ debut.

Northwestern played without junior guard Chase Audige, last year’s leading scorer at 12.3 points per game, due to an undisclosed injury that also kept him out of the Wildcats’ exhibition win on Nov. 4.

Eastern Illinois played without forward Sammy Friday IV, its top returning scorer at 8.9 points per game.

The rebuilding Panthers seized a 7-2 lead as Hamlin wriggled free for two short baskets, but Northwestern asserted control with 12 straight points over 3:09 as five different Wildcats came through.

Buie started the run with a layup at 17:32, then Nance followed with a jumper, freshman Casey Simmons sank two free throws and Berry and Julian Roper II swished 3-pointers to make it 14-7.

Northwestern led 40-29 at the break as Buie led everyone with 10 points.

Eastern Illinois cut its deficit to single digits briefly on Barlow Alleruzzo IV’s layup with 17:54 to go, but Nance answered with a 3-pointer to start the push to a 23-point lead.

The Wildcats introduced three new players into their rotation. Simmons started his college debut and posted six points in 14 minutes, Roper notched six points and three steals in 25 minutes off the bench, and Fairleigh Dickinson graduate transfer Elyjah Williams added nine points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.

–Field Level Media