Nov. 17, 2011
WATCH: Game Highlights
Site: Charleston, S.C. (TD Arena)
Score: Northwestern 88, LSU 82
Records: NU (2-0), LSU (1-2)
Next NU Event: Friday, Nov. 18 -- vs. Tulsa (Charleston, S.C.), 2:30 p.m. CT
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Senior forward John Shurna scored a career-high 37 points as Northwestern rallied from 14 points down to defeat LSU 88-82 Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the DirecTV Charleston Classic presented by Foster Grant.
With the win, the Wildcats advance to face Tulsa, a 65-49 winner over Western Kentucky, in the semifinal round at 2:30 p.m. Central time Friday.
The teams battled back and forth through the opening seven minutes of play with Alex Marcotullio giving the Wildcats a 14-13 lead with a 3-pointer. However, the Northwestern offense went cold after that point as the Tigers went on a 20-5 run to go up by 14, 33-19, with 4:31 left in the half.
Shurna scored nine points over the remainder of the stanza as NU cut the deficit to seven before going into the intermission trailing 41-32. The Wildcats shot just 31 percent from the field over the opening 20 minutes of play compared to 57.7 percent for LSU.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Shurna and Crawford to start the second half got Northwestern right back in the game, making it a three-point contest. The Wildcats eventually knotted the game 49-49 with 14:51 to go on a trey by Reggie Hearn. Two minutes later, Hearn gave NU its first lead since 14-13 by drilling another triple to make it 56-53.
The Wildcats' second-half switch to the 1-3-1 defense keyed the surge as it forced LSU into 11 turnovers over the first 12 minutes of the half and 20 for the game.
Northwestern's advantage was one with 10 minutes to go when it went on a 10-2 run behind six points from Crawford to give the Wildcats their largest lead of the game at nine with 7:13 left.
However, LSU made a late surge to get back in the contest. Six straight points by the Tigers trimmed their deficit to just three with four minutes remaining. Luka Mirkovic harassed Andre Stringer into a missed layup on a breakaway before Shurna leaked out on the other end for a slam dunk to push the advantage back up to five.
NU was up four when Johnny O'Bryant III converted a layup with 2:10 to go to make it a two-point game before Shurna answered by connecting on a tough drive to the basket with 1:39 left.
Following two free throws by LSU, JerShon Cobb, who missed the opening game of the season, drilled a baseline jumper to make it 83-79 with just under a minute left. Ralston Turner hit a 3-pointer on the other end to make it a one-point game, but freshman guard Dave Sobolewski answered with a three of his own with 28 seconds left to help seal the win.
After LSU turned it over, Shurna made two from the charity stripe, allowing him to tie the top point total by a Northwestern player during Bill Carmody's 12 seasons as head coach. His previous high was 31 points, accomplished three times.
Shurna connected 10 of 21 field goal attempts, including four of nine 3-point tries, while nailing 13 of 14 free throw attempts. He also contributed seven rebounds and four assists. Crawford posted a team-high eight boards to go along with his 17 points, while Sobolewski had 10 points and a game-high six assists.
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