After a dominating win over a longtime Chicago rival, Northwestern will take aim at another local foe when it hosts Illinois-Chicago on Tuesday in Evanston, Ill.
Northwestern (8-2) opened Saturday’s game against DePaul on a 22-5 run and never looked back on the way to an 83-45 rout. It was the largest margin of victory in the history of the series.
Chase Audige scored a career-high 28 points on 11-of-19 shooting, making 6 of 10 3-point attempts. He added five steals, tying a personal best.
“Thought he was great in every way,” coach Chris Collins said. “He’s really playing under control this year. He’s such a competitive spirit, and as a coach you don’t want to rob a player of that, but as he’s been a young player there were times where that maybe worked against him.”
Audige leads Northwestern in scoring (14.1 points per game) and steals (2.8) while ranking second in assists (3.6). The starting shooting guard only played in 24 games last season due to injuries, and Collins credited Audige’s health as well as his increased discipline for his production.
“Forget about making 3s. That was awesome,” Collins said. “I just thought his defense, his playmaking (were strong). What he allows us to do too, now, the way he’s playing is we can get Boo (Buie) off the ball a little bit and play him more as a scoring guard at times and interchange those guys, who’s playing the point, who’s playing off.”
UIC (8-4) enters off an 81-73 home win over Northeastern on Sunday. Jace Carter, the Flames’ leading scorer at 16.8 ppg, had a game-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
The Flames have won six of their past eight games, but the two losses in that span came in their first two Missouri Valley Conference contests, 66-51 to Missouri State and 77-64 at Drake. UIC left the Horizon League for the Missouri Valley this season.
The Northwestern game is the final nonconference tuneup for the Flames before they return to Missouri Valley play after Christmas.
“It’s a league where you’re going to have an opportunity,” coach Luke Yaklich told The Athletic before the season. “If you have a good nonconference schedule, (you) put yourself in position to have a great league schedule and get an at-large bid. But the goal, as always, is just to keep continue improvement throughout the year where you’re playing big games in February and March.”
Northwestern leads the all-time series 5-4. The programs haven’t met since Dec. 22, 2014.
–Field Level Media