Site: Pullman, Wash. (Beasley Coliseum) Score: Washington State 69, Northwestern 66 (OT) Records: NU (20-14), Washington State (22-12)
PULLMAN, Wash. -- In an emotional contest worthy of a championship game, Northwestern saw its National Invitation Tournament run come to an end Wednesday evening, falling 69-66 in overtime to Washington State.
Northwestern struggled to find its shooting touch early on as it fell behind 10-3. However, back-to-back 3-pointers by John Shurna and Marcotullio got the Wildcats back within one.
The deficit was still one at 13-12 when the Cougars rattled off eight straight points to extend their advantage to nine. Washington State continued to build upon its advantage as all told an 18-5 run gave the hosts their largest lead of the half at 31-17 with 4:22 remaining.
NU refused to go away, though, as it chipped away at the deficit to get back in the game. The Wildcats connected on six of their final eight field goal attempts in the half, including Thompson's runner at the horn that got Northwestern to within 38-31 at the break.
The 'Cats came out of the locker room on fire as baskets by Luka Mirkovic and Thompson and a trey by Marcotullio got Northwestern right back to even at 38 apiece. It became a 10-1 run when Drew Crawford drilled a 3-pointer to put the visitors up 41-39, the team's first lead since 3-2.
Washington State would go back in front 47-43, but Thompson capped an 8-2 run with a trey to put the Wildcats back up 51-49 with 8:21 to go.
Back and forth the teams went down the stretch. A lay-in by Crawford put NU up 55-53 with 6:12 remaining, but the Cougars scored the game's next seven points to go in front 60-55 with 3:29 left.
Two Mirkovic free throws got Northwestern within three, but DeAngelo Casto made one from the charity stripe to make it a four-point game. After the teams traded a pair from the line, Thompson drilled a 3-pointer to get the Wildcats within 63-62 with 1:31 remaining.
NU got a stop on the other end, but Shurna missed a 3-pointer that would have put the Wildcats in front. Forced to foul, Northwestern sent Reggie Moore to the line with 17.1 seconds left, but he made just one of two.
Following a timeout with 8.0 seconds remaining, Shurna got the game-tying basket on a layup with just 4.2 seconds to go to make it 64-64. Washington State got all the way to the basket at the final horn and Crawford was called for a foul on Abe Lodwick. The officials reviewed the play and put 0.2 seconds on the clock. However, Lodwick missed twice from the line to give NU new life, sending the game to overtime.
Scoring proved difficult for both teams in the extra session. The Cougars scored first on a basket by Klay Thompson before Mirkovic answered to tie the game. The game remained tied until Klay Thompson hit two from the line with 1:11 remaining to put the hosts up by two. Northwestern couldn't covert on the other end and Moore was fouled with 17.1 seconds left.
Marcotullio's deep three attempt to tie was off the mark, but the Wildcats got the offensive rebound and had one final chance. Marcotullio couldn't connect from beyond the arc at the buzzer, allowing Washington State to escape.
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