Unranked Northwestern stuns Purdue, ends 0-18 streak against No. 1 teams

Northwestern center Matthew Nicholson (center) celebrates with fans the Northwestern's 64-58 victory over Purdue in an NCAA college basketball game in Evanston, Illinois, Sunday, February 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Northwest fans storm the court, surround Wildcats center Matthew Nicholson after upsetting Purdue. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Until Sunday, Northwestern was 0-18 all-time against the No. 1 teams.

Do it 1-18.

The unranked Wildcats stunned No. 1 Purdue at home on Sunday, 64-58, sending the Boilermakers to their second loss in three games. The Wildcats rallied after a 37–30 break to secure the win and improve their standing as a surprise contender on the NCAA tournament field. The upset caused the angry Welsh-Ryan Arena crowd to pour onto the venue after the final signal.

Senior guard Bou Buie led the charge with 26 points, four rebounds and three assists as the Wildcats overcame 24 points and eight rebounds of Purdue National Player of the Year candidate Zach Edie.

“It’s amazing,” Bui told the Big Ten Network after the game. “It was a hell of a game. Very proud, very proud of our guys… It’s time for people to wake up.”

The Northwestern defense set the tone, forcing the Boilermakers to complete 16 passes and holding them at 36.2% from the floor and 22.7% from three-point range. The effort allowed the Wildcats to surpass their own 4-for-22 (18.2%) from three-point range.

What does upset mean for both teams

The Northwestern team, which was not expected to play this season, improved to 18-7 (9-5, Big Ten) and scored a landmark victory on their NCAA Tournament resume. Purdue falls to 23-3 (12-3, Big 10) and will see his top spot in the rankings in jeopardy.

The Boilermakers retained their No. 1 spot after a road loss to Indiana last Saturday. They will retain their status as the presumptive No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but Sunday’s loss opens the door for No. 2 Houston and No. 3 Alabama to move up in the polls.


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