Feb. 25, 2012
WATCH: Game Highlights
Site: University Park, Pa. (Bryce Jordan Center)
Score: Northwestern 67, Penn State 66
Records: NU (17-11, 7-9 Big Ten), Penn State (12-17, 4-12 Big Ten)
Next NU Event: Wednesday, Feb. 29 -- vs. Ohio State (Welsh-Ryan Arena), 7:30 p.m.
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- John Shurna hit two free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining to lift Northwestern to a 67-66 nail-biting win over Penn State at Bryce Jordan Center Saturday evening.
Shurna paced the Wildcats with 23 to go along with six assists while tying a career high with five blocked shots.
With 1:06 remaining and NU trailing by one, Shurna drew a charge on Ross Travis along the baseline. However, Reggie Hearn was called for a charge on the other end, giving the Nittany Lions the ball back.
Shurna then stuffed Jermaine Marshall in the lane with 35.2 seconds to go, creating a jump ball, but possession stayed with the hosts. Drew Crawford was eventually called for a foul on Jon Graham with 14.1 seconds left.
Graham would miss both free throw attempts, though, and Shurna grabbed the rebound. Northwestern pushed the ball into the front court and got it to Shurna in the post and Graham was called for a shooting foul with just 2.6 seconds left. Shurna made the first to tie it before Penn State called a timeout. The delay didn't deter the senior forward, as he connected on the second attempt as well.
The Nittany Lions raced the ball up court, but Tim Frazier's attempt from 30 feet came up short, allowing NU to finally escape with a close win.
Northwestern did most of its work from the perimeter in the contest, making 15 of 29 3-point field goal attempts to just seven of 21 makes from inside the arc.
The Wildcats led 6-4 early on in the contest thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Crawford before the Nittany Lions rattled off nine straight points to go in front 13-6. NU committed four early turnovers as Penn State's lead would eventually grow to 18-10.
However, Northwestern would get hot from beyond the arc as triples by Alex Marcotullio and Dave Sobolewski sandwiched a pair of free throws by Shurna to get the visitors within 20-18.
The run would continue as Crawford make on from the charity stripe, Shurna hit a trey and Sobolewski scored on a fastbreak layup and made an ensuing free throw to put the 'Cats up 25-20, capping a 15-2 run.
PSU would creep back within two behind six straight points from Tim Frazier, but 3-pointers down the stretch from Marcotullio and JerShon Cobb helped Northwestern take a 34-28 lead at the break. In all, the Wildcats made eight of 16 attempts from beyond the arc over the opening 20 minutes of play.
Penn State crept back within 36-34 early in the second half before Cobb drilled a perimeter jumper, Shurna connected on a long triple from the top of the key and then scored on a transition layup to give Northwestern a 43-34 lead with 15 minutes left.
The Nittany Lions refused to go away, though, as Frazier scored eight points during an 18-6 run, capped by a triple by Cameron Woodyard, that put the hosts in front 52-49 with 8:39 left.
Three-pointers on three straight possessions put Northwestern back in front 58-55 with seven minutes left. Yet another trey by Crawford one minute later made it 61-57, but Penn State would tie the game on a lay-in by Sasa Borovnjak with 4:26 to go.
Shurna put NU back in front with a jumper in the lane with 3:17 to go before Frazier put the Nittany Lions up one with a three-point play on the other end. Neither team would be able to score the rest of the way until Shurna's decisive free throws.
Frazier paced Penn State with 23 points and eight assists. Crawford and Marcotullio hit four 3-pointers apiece for NU and finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Northwestern returns to action Wednesday as it hosts Ohio State on Senior Night. The contest begins at 7:30, though fans are strongly encouraged to arrive early in order to take in the pregame ceremonies honoring Shurna, Davide Curletti, Nick Fruendt and Luka Mirkovic.
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