Northwestern’s defense steps up in victory over Prairie View A&M

Northwestern’s defense held the Panthers scoreless over the final 3:26 and allowed just four points over the final 10 minutes.

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Robbie Beran had 20 points and 12 rebounds against Prairie View A&M.

Robbie Beran had 20 points and 12 rebounds against Prairie View A&M.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

Robbie Beran had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Chase Audige made several key plays, and Northwestern rallied to defeat Prairie View A&M 61-51 on Sunday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Audige hit a three-pointer and later a pair of free throws to give the Wildcats a 51-47 lead with 6:17 remaining. It was Northwestern’s first lead since the 14-minute mark of the second half. At 3:48 Audige made a layup for a 56-49 lead and the Wildcats continued to extend their lead from there.

Northwestern’s defense, 12th nationally with 54.5 points allowed per game and sixth at 35.4% field goal percentage allowed, held the Panthers scoreless over the final 3:26 and allowed just four points over the final 10 minutes. Prairie View finished at 29% shooting for the game and Northwestern hit on 29.5%.

Audige finished with 11 points, six rebounds, three assists, three steals and four blocks. Beran had four three-pointers and three blocks. Boo Buie had 12 points and seven assists for the Wildcats (7-2).

Jeremiah Gambrell scored 16 points for Prairie View (4-5) but shot 6-for-22 overall and missed 11 three-pointers. Hegel Augustin had 10 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.

Northwestern finished the first half at 18.8% shooting overall and 4-of-18 on three-pointers. The Wildcats made only two 2-point field goals in the first half and trailed 29-24 at the break.

Northwestern’s struggles in the first half were evidenced by 5-for-25 shooting over the first 16 minutes. At the 4-minute timeout Beran, who had 13 points and five rebounds at that point, was the only Wildcat who had scored more than two points.

The Wildcats improved to 14-1 all-time against SWAC schools, with a 14-0 record at home.

Northwestern plays the second game of a six-game homestand on Saturday against DePaul.

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