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    Wildcats Dodge Delta Devils, 81-68

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Jared Swopshire's 22 points bested his previous career high of 15.

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Jared Swopshire's 22 points bested his previous career high of 15.
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Nov. 15, 2012

    Box Score |  Quotes

    WATCH: Game Highlights | Postgame Press Conference (All-Access)

    Site: Evanston, Ill. (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
    Score: Northwestern 81, Mississippi Valley State 68
    Records: NU (2-0), Mississippi Valley State (0-3)
    Next NU Event: Sunday, Nov. 18 -- vs. Fairleigh Dickinson (Welsh-Ryan Arena), 1 p.m.
    Tickets: NUsports.com or call 888-GO-PURPLE

    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Reggie Hearn scored a career-high 23 points and Jared Swopshire added a career-best 22 as Northwestern pulled away late to fight off a scare from Mississippi Valley State 81-68 at Welsh-Ryan Arena Thursday evening.

    Dave Sobolewski added 13 points, eight assists and six rebounds to help the Wildcats improve to 2-0.

    Northwestern surged out of the gates, posting a 14-5 lead five minutes into the contest behind 3-pointers by Hearn and Swopshire and an old-fashioned three-point play by Alex Olah.

    Watch Game Highlights on Wildcats All-Access
    However, the Delta Devils were able to hang close throughout the remainder of the half thanks to the red-hot shooting of Davon Usher. He hit triples on consecutive possessions sandwiched around another trey by Swopshire to get MVSU within 17-11.

    Northwestern's advantage was eight, 40-32, with 2:16 left in the half following a basket by Swopshire, but Usher scored the final five points of a 6-0 run to close the half and get the guests within 40-38 at the break.

    The Delta Devils tied the game at 43-43 early in the second stanza before the Wildcats went on a 13-2 run as they appeared primed to pull away. Alex Marcotullio's 3-pointer out of the corner with 13:18 remaining forced the guests to burn a timeout.

    MVSU responded, though, scoring 10 consecutive points to get back within one. The 'Cats didn't have much of an answer for Usher most of the night as his two free throws with 6:28 remaining cut Northwestern's advantage to 64-60 and gave him 33 points in the contest.

    NU was able to clamp down on Usher down the home stretch, though. Sobolewski answered Usher's free throws with two of his own before scoring on a backdoor layup off a feed from Hearn.

    Following one free throw by the Delta Devils, Swopshire pushed the lead to 10 with his fifth triple of the night. Swopshire then split a pair from the charity stripe before Sobolewski delivered the dagger with a trey to make it 75-61 with four minutes left.

    Northwestern was able to limit Usher to just two points over the last 6:28 and that came on a meaningless basket with just 14 seconds left.

    Seven of Sobolewski's eight assists (no turnovers) were recorded in the first half and the total came two days after he notched a career-best nine in a victory over Texas Southern. As a team, NU assisted on 25 of its 27 field goals in the contest.

    The Wildcats scratched out the victory despite Drew Crawford being limited to 16 minutes of action while being in foul trouble most of the contest. Swopshire connected on five of six 3-point tries in the contest while Hearn knocked down four of his own. NU made 12 of 23 shots from behind the arch as a team in the contest. Usher made seven of his eight attempts from distance for MVSU.

    Northwestern returns to action at 1 p.m. Sunday as it continues its season-opening four-game homestand by taking on Fairleigh Dickinson.

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