EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) – Boo Buie drove hard toward the rim, pulled up for a short hook shot and watched his tiebreaking basket swish through the net. Moments later, Northwestern celebrated another win over a ranked opponent.
Buie scored with two seconds remaining and the surprising Wildcats followed up their first victory over a top-ranked team by beating No. 14 Indiana 64-62 on Wednesday night.
After defeating Purdue on Sunday for the program’s first win against an opponent ranked No. 1 in the AP poll, the Wildcats (19-7, 10-5 Big Ten) came away with another big victory after the Hoosiers (18-8, 9-6) rallied from 19 down at halftime to tie it in the final minute.
“More people need to wake up,” Buie said. “This isn’t luck. It can’t be luck at this point.”
Northwestern took sole possession of second place in the conference standings with its program-record fourth win over a ranked opponent this season. It’s quite a turnaround after five straight losing years.
There was so much speculation about coach Chris Collins’ future after last season the school released a statement saying he would return. Now, he’s on the verge of leading Northwestern to its second NCAA Tournament in seven years.
“Purdue was a great win, but it’s been building throughout the year,” Collins said. “If you lose all those games, then you start to have negative thoughts. And we’ve been through that in the past. It’s almost like, let’s invent a new way to lose tonight. But now, our guys are finding ways to win because they believe they should, they believe in each other.”
Northwestern hadn’t beaten Top 25 teams in consecutive games since January 2009. And this one sure wasn’t easy in the end.
The Wildcats led 62-58 with 44 seconds remaining after Buie drove for a layup off a turnover. But Indiana wasn’t finished.
Former Wildcat Miller Kopp — who had profane chants directed his way by Northwestern fans — stole a pass by Robbie Beran, leading to a tying layup by Trayce Jackson-Davis with 28 seconds left. Buie then buried the winner over Trey Galloway with two seconds left, and Jalen Hood-Schifino’s heave as time expired hit the rim.
Buie had 21 points, six rebounds and four assists. Chase Audige scored 14, and Northwestern augmented its case for the school’s second NCAA Tournament berth with its fourth straight win and seventh in nine games.
Jackson-Davis led Indiana with 23 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. But the Hoosiers came up short after winning eight of nine.
Hood-Schifino and Race Thompson each scored 13.
“At the end of the day, Boo made a hell of a shot,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. “You’ve got to give them credit. They get us down 19, you can’t spot a team 19 at home and expect to win all the time. … I thought we were too hyped, pumped for the game.”
Audige and Buie scored 11 apiece in the first half, and Northwestern led by 21 before heading to the locker room up 39-20.
Audige nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Wildcats a 17-12 lead and spark a 17-1 run that delighted rowdy student sections behind each basket.
Indiana’s bench and Woodson got called for technical fouls as the coach argued that Buie should have been whistled for traveling, leading to four free throws for the Wildcats’ guard. And Northwestern continued to pour it on from there.
Buie capped the run when he nailed a 3 to make it 28-13 with just over seven minutes remaining in the half.
Brooks Barnhizer made it 39-18 with two free throws in the closing minute. Jackson-Davis made two for the Hoosiers in the closing seconds, and Woodson had more heated words for the officials before heading to the locker room with his team trailing by 19.
Indiana: The Hoosiers couldn’t overcome their poor start or shaky shooting. They were 3 of 11 on 3-pointers.
Northwestern: The Wildcats continued to make a case for a spot in the Top 25 as well as the NCAA Tournament, if they haven’t clinched one already. “We’re going to the tourney, so that’s great,” Collins said. “Now, we can just focus on getting better and continuing to figure out how we can be the best we can be and shore some things up.”
Indiana: Hosts Illinois on Saturday. The Hoosiers beat the Illini on the road 80-65 on Jan. 19.
Northwestern: Hosts Iowa on Sunday. The Wildcats lost on the road to the Hawkeyes 86-70 on Jan. 31.