Nov. 22, 2009
Box Score |
Photo Gallery 1 |
Photo Gallery 2
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Michael Thompson refused to let Northwestern lose. The junior point guard scored a career-high 31 points including 13 of the team's last 16 as the Wildcats finished the game on a 16-1 run to get past Tennessee State 69-62 Sunday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
NU found itself faced with a 61-53 deficit with 5:26 remaining following a pair of free throws by Josh Sain, but that's when Thompson took over. After splitting a pair from the free throw line, he drilled a 3-pointer to get the Wildcats within four.
Following a turnover by the Tigers and a media timeout, Thompson found himself all alone at the top of the key but missed a trey. However, Drew Crawford got the offensive rebound and kicked it right back out to Thompson who buried another triple to cut the TSU lead to one with 3:45 still remaining.
Sain was fouled attempting a 3-pointer on the other end, but was only able to convert on one of three tries from the charity stripe. Thompson was then fouled diving baseline and nailed both attempts to get Northwestern back to even with 2:55 left.
Crawford came up with a steal to get NU the ball back and fellow freshman Alex Marcotullio nailed a cold-blooded 3-pointer from in front of the Wildcat bench with 2:22 to go to give the hosts the lead and NU never looked back.
Two more free throws and a layup by Thompson sealed the win as Northwestern turned away the Tigers' valiant effort. In all, Thompson scored 21 points in the second half. It was the most points in a half by a Northwestern player since Craig Moore had 24 in the first half at Brown one year ago to the date.
Early on it looked as though the Wildcats would have an easy time with Tennessee State. The Wildcats surged out to a 23-11 advantage behind five makes from beyond the arch.
NU still led 32-21 with 5:35 left in the opening half when the offense grinded to a halt. The Wildcats committed six of their 12 first-half turnovers over the remainder of the half and were held scoreless as the Tigers scored the final 12 points before the break.
Northwestern only turned the ball over two times in the second half, but Tennessee State still led for the majority of the second stanza before Thompson took over down the stretch.
The Wildcats shot 48.8 percent from the field and assisted on 18 of their 21 made baskets. Marcotullio was a perfect 3-for-3 from 3-point range off the bench for 9 points. Crawford had a solid all-around game with 8 points and game highs of 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
NU returns to action at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday as it hosts Liberty.