Boo Buie recorded 22 points, five rebounds and five assists for Northwestern, which never trailed while knocking off Boise State 75-67 on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament West Region in Sacramento, Calif.
Chase Audige added 20 points, six rebounds and four steals for the seventh-seeded Wildcats (22-11), who improved to 2-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.
Ty Berry had 13 points and six rebounds and Brooks Barnhizer added 10 points for Northwestern, which will face second-seeded UCLA in Saturday’s second round after the Bruins downed 15th-seeded UNC Asheville 86-53.
Northwestern coach Chris Collins said on CBS, “I love seeing all this purple out in California. We played really hard. Boise State is a heck of a team … but we hung in there. We got enough stops when we needed them. I thought our guards took over late.”
Max Rice scored 17 points and Naje Smith had 14 points and 11 rebounds for 10th-seeded Boise State (24-10). Marcus Shaver Jr. had 12 points and nine rebounds despite turning his right ankle late in the first half, and Chibuzo Agbo also had 12 points and nine boards.
Boise State dropped to 0-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, with the past four losses coming under current coach Leon Rice.
Northwestern shot 49.1 percent from the field, including 8 of 21 (38.1 percent) from 3-point range.
Boise State made 40 percent of its shots and was just 6 of 23 (26.1 percent) from behind the arc.
A 3-pointer by Max Rice — the coach’s son — knotted the score at 40 with 17:34 left, the first time Boise State hadn’t trailed since 0-0.
However, the Broncos couldn’t grab the lead. Berry scored five points during an 8-2 run as Northwestern pushed the lead back to six with 14:36 remaining.
Boise State moved within 52-50 on Shaver’s basket with 9:56 left, but Buie answered with a trey 18 seconds later.
Later, Buie and Berry converted layups and Barnhizer tapped in a rebound to give the Wildcats a 66-56 lead with 3:15 remaining.
Barnhizer drove for a basket to make it 74-62 with 37.8 seconds left as Northwestern closed it out.
Buie scored 11 first-half points to help the Wildcats hold a 38-32 lead. Agbo had 10 in the half for Boise State.
Northwestern led 20-10 after a 3-pointer by Audige with 12:39 left in the half.
The Broncos were within 32-29 and had the momentum after Rice’s 3-pointer with 3:05 left. Shaver injured his ankle 32 seconds later and missed the rest of the half while the Wildcats pushed the lead back to six at the break.
–Field Level Media
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