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    Northwestern Holds Off Late Penn State Rally

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Northwestern's Tim Doyle scored 15 points and made a big defensive stop at the end. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
    Northwestern's Tim Doyle scored 15 points and made a big defensive stop at the end. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Feb. 10, 2007

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    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Kevin Coble scored 16 points and added 10 rebounds to lead Northwestern over Penn State 53-51 on Saturday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena, snapping a four-game losing skid.

    Coble's performance was the first double-double this season for Northwestern. He was 6-of-11 from the field and hit three from long range. He also added three assists.

    Tim Doyle added 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting for the Wildcats (12-12, 2-9 Big Ten) after sitting out most of the second half with four fouls.

    The Nittany Lions (10-13, 1-9) have now lost nine straight since winning its Big Ten opener. Geary Claxton scored 16 and Mike Walker chipped in 12 to lead Penn State, which is 0-7 on the road.

    Northwestern led by as many as 14 in the second half, but nearly let it slip away by hitting just 6-of-21 and turning the ball over an uncharacteristic 10 times in the second half. Penn State cut the deficit to 49-48 after a 9-0 run with 2:55 left.

    But leading by one late in the game with the shot clock expiring, Craig Moore hit a 35-foot, off-balance shot to push the lead back to 52-48. Before the crowd had time to enjoy Moore's circus shot, Penn State's Mike Walker responded with a three of his own on the very next possession to cut the lead right back to one.

    With NU needing a big defensive stop with 19.4 seconds left, freshman Jeff Ryan stole an inbounds pass and split a pair of free throws. Needing then another stop on the game's final possession, Doyle defended Claxton on a possible tying layup and came up with the final rebound and launched the ball to mid-court to seal the win.

    Doyle sat for 10:02 in the second half after drawing his fourth foul with 14:19 to go. Penn State went on a 13-6 run with him on the bench.

    Doyle and Coble combined for 21 points in the first half on 9-for-12 shooting to help the Wildcats to a 37-27 lead. Northwestern hit 60 percent of its shots in the first half and went on a 10-0 run over 5:28 to turn an 11-10 deficit into a 20-11 lead. Doyle had five points in the run, Vince Scott scored on a tip-in and Craig Moore hit a three.

    After Claxton broke the streak with a jumper, Doyle responded with a pair of layups to make it 24-13.

    Jason Okrzesik made his third-straight start and hit two three's while chipping in with four assists and two steals. Moore also finished with six while Ivan Tolic, who received his first start since the 2004 Big Ten Tournament, chipped in with four.

    The Wildcats have now won five of the last six meetings against Penn State at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

    Northwestern is back in action this Wednesday night at Iowa. Game time is 7 p.m. CT.

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.