Feb. 18, 2012
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Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
Score: Northwestern 64, Minnesota 53
Records: NU (16-10, 6-8 Big Ten), Minnesota (17-10, 5-9 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Tuesday, Feb. 21 -- vs. Michigan (Welsh-Ryan Arena), 7 p.m. CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- John Shurna broke Billy McKinney's scoring record in the most fitting way possible -- with a 3-pointer to put Northwestern up 50-40 with 10:45 left in a crucial game against Minnesota. Shurna's 18 points -- the 12th straight game the senior has scored at least 15 -- helped the Wildcats to a 64-53 win over the Golden Gophers Saturday night.
Northwestern, looking for its sixth conference win of the season, jumped right out of the gates, grabbing an early 5-0 lead, courtesy of a Reggie Hearn lay-in and a Drew Crawford three. From there NU never relinquished the lead, and, starting at the 9:50 mark in the first, never led by fewer than four points the entire contest. Hearn, earning his 25th career start, finished the game with six points and Crawford, the Big Ten's fourth leading scorer, added 11 of his own to the cause.
Minnesota was able to keep things tight until around the four minute mark when, trailing by three points, Minnesota looked apt to make a scoring run -- until Shurna seized control. Scoreless to that point, the senior deflected and stole a pass, leaving him all alone to dunk in high flying fashion. From there, Shurna reeled off NU's next 10 points and extended the Wildcats' lead to 11, 36-25, until Julian Welch hit a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer.
Rolling into halftime with a 36-28 lead, Northwestern was in the driver's seat and never looked back.
Freshman Dave Sobolewski scored NU's first five points of the second half before two free throws by Reggie Hearn pushed the lead to 12. Shurna then gathered in an offensive rebound and scored on a putback to get him within two points of McKinney's record and make it 45-31.
Shurna was fouled with 13:06 remaining and went to the charity stripe with a chance to tie the record, but he only made one of two.
Consecutive triples by Welch got Minnesota back within seven with 11 minutes left, but with just under 11 minutes remaining, Shurna found himself free at the top of the key and dribbled into a 3-point attempt that went down to give him 1,902 career points and the school's all-time record.
Sobolewski followed with a trey of his own to push the lead back to 13 and Minnesota was unable to get closer than eight the rest of the way.
Sobolewski finished the game connecting on four of five 3-point attempts, adding six from the charity stripe, to finish with 22 points, just one point shy of his career high set against Iowa.
NU also got help from the defense, especially in JerShon Cobb, who making his first start this season. Cobb was key on the defensive end for the 'Cats, grabbing five rebounds and five steals. Shurna also added three steals on the game to go along with five blocks, moving him up into third all-time in NU history with 125.
Northwestern forced Minnesota into 19 turnovers which they were able to convert into 24 points. The Golden Gophers were paced by Welch who scored 21 points in the losing effort.
Up next, Northwestern tries to stay in contention and hosts Big Ten foe Michigan at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
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