Jan. 9, 2011
Box Score |
Northwestern 93, Indiana 81
Site: Welsh-Ryan Arena Evanston, Ill.
Records: Northwestern (10-4, 1-3 Big Ten); Indiana (9-8, 0-4 Big Ten)
Up Next: at Iowa Wednesday, Jan. 12 7:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern established momentum early and kept Indiana at bay as the Wildcats defeated Indiana 93-81 at Welsh-Ryan Arena, notching their first Big Ten victory of the season. John Shurna led all scorers with 24 points while Luka Mirkovic added a double-double, finishing with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
The 93-point output marked the fourth time this season that NU has scored at least 90 points in a game.
After averaging just 9.7 points per game of the last three contests while battling an ankle injury, Shurna nailed a pair of 3-pointers early on to get him going. Trailing by three early on, the Wildcats used an 18-5 run to take a 20-10 lead at the midway point of the first half.
NU was able to bounce back from a poor defensive performance at Illinois on Thursday with a solid effort, particularly in the opening stanza. The 'Cats limited the visitors to 36 percent shooting (9-25) from the field over the opening 20 minutes of play.
Northwestern led by as many as 14 in the first half before taking a 40-28 advantage into the break. Shurna posted 13 points, while Mirkovic grabbed seven boards (four offensive) as the Wildcats tallied 11 second-chance points in the period.
The Hoosiers were within 11 five minutes into the second period when a 3-point barrage helped NU build a comfortable cushion. Shurna started things with a trey out of the corner before Verdell Jones III hit one free throw on the other end. JerShon Cobb answered with a triple of his own before Drew Crawford swatted a shot by Victor Oladipo and then joined the 3-point party with one of his own to make it 61-42.
In all, the second 18-5 spurt in the game by Northwestern helped the hosts take their largest lead of the game, 68-44, with 11 minutes remaining.
Indiana would whittle the Wildcats' lead down to eight with two minutes left, but Crawford nailed an open 3-pointer to push the edge back to 11 to help avert the threat.
Mirkovic's 20 points bested his previous career high 16, accomplished twice against Purdue. The performance marked his second double-double of the campaign and the fifth of his career. Shurna surpassed 20 points in a game for the ninth time this season.
Michael Thompson contributed 16 points and eight assists to the Wildcats' cause. Christian Watford led Indiana with 17 points, though NU limited him to just two points over the opening 30 minutes of play.
Northwestern returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when it travels to Iowa.
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