Dec. 22, 2011
Site: Omaha, Neb. (CenturyLink Center)
Score: #23/21 Creighton 87, Northwestern 79
Records: NU (10-2), Creighton (10-1)
Next NU Event: Wednesday, Dec. 28 -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), 4:30 p.m. CT
OMAHA, Neb. -- Drew Crawford connected on 13 of 17 field goal attempts and scored a game-high 34 points, but it wasn't enough as No. 23/21 Creighton rode red-hot 3-point shooting down the stretch to top Northwestern 87-79 at CenturyLink Center.
John Shurna added 18 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals for the Wildcats. Doug McDermott, the nation's second-leading scorer, paced the Bluejays with 27 points.
Creighton followed the hot hands of McDermott and Gregory Echenique early on as the hosts jumped out to an 8-3. However, the Wildcats more than had the answer in the form of Crawford.
A pair of jumpers by the junior forward sandwiched a 3-pointer by Davide Curletti as NU tied the game 10-10. A triple by McDermott gave the Bluejays a 17-14 advantage, but Shurna scored and McDermott picked up his second foul with 12:20 remaining, forcing him to the bench for the remainder of the half.
The score was knotted 25-25 with just under 10 minutes left in the stanza when Crawford scored six points during an 8-0 run for the Wildcats that gave them a 33-25 edge with 5:42 to go, forcing Creighton to burn a timeout.
However, Northwestern would go into a scoring drought as Antoine Young hit a deuce and then a 3-pointer before Ethan Wragge came off the bench and got loose in the corner, hitting a pair of triples that gave the Bluejays a 36-33 lead.
Shurna hit a trey of his own to tie the game before Echenique hit one free throw to give the hosts a 37-36 advantage at the break. Crawford went 9-of-11 from the field over the opening 20 minutes of play as he tallied 19 points.
A three-point play by Curletti put Northwestern up 42-39 three minutes into the second half, but Crawford was forced to the bench when he picked up his fourth foul with 14:35 left. Creighton would rattle off nine straight points to go up by five.
NU was within three, but five points by McDermott and a triple by Jahenns Manigat stretched the Bluejays lead up to nine, 58-49, with nine minutes left. NU refused to go away, though. Five points by Crawford keyed a 9-0 run as JerShon Cobb's two free throws knotted the score with 7:29 to go.
However, Manigat hit a 3-pointer and a four-point play by Wragge pushed the lead right back up to seven with 6:49 remaining. Shurna's trey with 5:57 on the clock got the 'Cats within four, but a basket by Young and triple by McDermott and Josh Jones helped extend Creighton's lead to 10 with 4:35 left and the 'Cats couldn't get closer than seven the rest of the way.
Northwestern shot 50 percent from the field (29-58) in the contest, but Creighton was just a bit better at 52.6 percent (30-57). Dave Sobolewski, who entered the game ranked third in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio, handed out a career-high eight helpers without committing a miscue.
Northwestern returns to action next Wednesday, Dec. 28 as it opens Big Ten play at Ohio State. Tip-off is set for 4:30 p.m. Central time.
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