Dec. 1, 2009
RALEIGH, N.C. --
Michael Thompson scored 22 points, including a clutch three-point play late, as Northwestern went on the road and defeated North Carolina State 65-53 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Tuesday evening at the RBC Center.
The victory extends NU's winning streak to five as they improve to 6-1 on the season. The loss was the first of the season for N.C. State (5-1) and marked the third consecutive opponent that was handed its first loss of the 2009-10 campaign by the Wildcats. In the last five days, the Wildcats have beaten teams from the Big East (Notre Dame), Big 12 (Iowa State) and ACC (N.C. State) conferences.
Northwestern led throughout, but the Wolfpack rallied to within four points on two different occasions in the final nine minutes of play. The hosts were within five, 57-52, with under two minutes remaining, but the 'Cats spread the court and Thompson made it all the way to the basket where he converted the layup and drew a foul as part of a three-point play. N.C. State never threatened again.
With the teams tied 6-6 early on, Northwestern used a nine-point run capped by a slam by Shurna coming out of a media timeout to take a 15-6 advantage.
The Wolfpack crept back to within 20-16, but a 12-2 surge by the Wildcats gave them their largest lead of the opening half of 14 at 32-18 with four minutes to go. NU would eventually take a 34-24 edge into the intermission as the visitors shot 57.7 percent (15-26) to 37.0 percent (10-27) for NC State.
Shurna led the way for the Wildcats with 10 points over the opening 20 minutes of play, while Tracy Smith had 11 for the hosts.
Northwestern's advantage was 47-35 with 11 minutes remaining before the Wolfpack went on an 8-0 run to get within four on a dunk by Smith with 8:49 to go. But Thompson drove baseline and found Alex Marcotullio wide open in the corner for a triple to quiet the crowd.
N.C. State got back within four with just under six minutes left, but two free throws by birthday boy Jeremy Nash and a jumper by Thompson increased the cushion back to eight. The Wolfpack remained within striking distance down five with just under two minutes to go before Thompson's clutch three-point play helped seal the win. Thompson scored 17 of his team-high 22 points in the second half.
The Wildcats shot 49.0 percent (24-49) from the field, while limiting the Wolfpack to 33.9 percent (19-56) shooting, including just 2-for-18 from 3-point range.
Northwestern takes 11 days off for exams before returning to action Dec. 13 when it hosts North Carolina A&T at Welsh-Ryan Arena.