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    Wildcats Top UC Riverside, 59-43

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM Kyle Rowley tied a season high with 10 points in Monday's win over UC Riverside.
    Kyle Rowley tied a season high with 10 points in Monday's win over UC Riverside.

    Dec. 1, 2008

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    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern used a balanced scoring attack and another strong defensive performance to claim a 59-43 win against UC Riverside Monday night in the first of four consecutive games at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Head coach Bill Carmody won his 199th career game and now has just two days to prepare NU for a match-up with Florida State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Wednesday.

    Northwestern is off to a 4-1 start while the visiting Highlanders drop to 4-2 in 2008.

    Four Wildcats landed in double-figure scoring on the day, led by junior Kevin Coble with 14, while senior point guard Michael Thompson did a little bit of everything, racking up 8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.

    Both squads struggled to find the basket early on but the 'Cats relied on freshman Kyle Rowley to put points on the board. Rowley used his clear height advantage against UC Riverside to score on back-to-back possessions and put Northwestern in front 6-2.

    The action remained tight until Rowley converted a hoop-and-the-harm to put the Wildcats up four and started a 12-0 Northwestern run over the next seven minutes. Senior Craig Moore connected on two three-pointers during that stretch and eventually finished the game with 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting.

    NU continued its cohesive play on the offensive end and opened up a 32-14 lead at the break.

    In the second half, Northwestern came out determined to protect its lead and eventually opened a 20-point advantage, 45-25, off a long-range bomb by Coble with 12:34 to play. After that, the Highlanders made their lone run of the contest, slashing Northwestern's lead to 13 thanks to a layup by Christian Soto with just under nine minutes to play. Four minutes later, three straight UC Riverside baskets had the margin to 11 at 51-40, but two Kevin Coble free throws and five straight points by freshman John Shurna dismissed all possibility of a comeback.

    Shurna's outburst was highlighted by one signature play. He used his long reach to block a three-point attempt at one end, collected the loose ball and went the distance at the other end, converting the layup while being fouled in the act, upping NU's lead back to 18.

    Northwestern's control of the game was aided by its 37-29 advantage on the glass and a field goal percentage of 47 percent despite shooting just 4-of-20 from behind the three-point arc.

    Soto and Brandon Dowdy both notched 12 points for the Highlanders in a losing effort.