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    Defense Leads Wildcats Past Bears, 58-52

    Dec. 22, 2013

    Northwestern Northwestern 58, Brown 52
    Welsh-Ryan Arena • Evanston, Ill. • Attendance: 6,591

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    EVANSTON, Ill. -- Drew Crawford posted 24 points and 11 rebounds and Kale Abrahamson provided a boost off the bench with 11 points and nine boards as the Northwestern men's basketball team defeated Brown 58-52 Sunday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena.

    The double-double was Crawford's fourth of the season and seventh of his career. Abrahamson's rebound total matched a career high, previously achieved Feb. 28, 2013 vs. Ohio State.

    The Wildcats' defense limited the Bears to 31.7 percent shooting in the contest, including 25 percent in the second half.

    Northwestern surged out to a 13-8 lead to open the game as Crawford hit the Bears with nine quick points.

    However, the Wildcats' offense failed to capitalize on transition opportunities as Brown used a nine-point run to take a 17-13 lead at the midway point of the opening stanza.

    Crawford's second triple of the half stopped the run and gave him 12 points, but the visitors answered with six straight points to push their advantage to 23-16.

    Crawford kept things going as he'd finish the half with 17 points and six rebounds. However, the rest of the team struggled as Brown eventually took a 27-25 lead at halftime. The Wildcats shot just 31.3 percent (10-32) from the field over the opening 20 minutes of play.

    Crawford remained red-hot to begin the second half as his corner triple off an assist from Dave Sobolewski tied the game 31-31 just over three minutes into the period.

    Another assist by Sobolewski, his seventh of the game, resulted in a 3-pointer by Kale Abrahamson that tied the game at 39. The junior point guard's offensive rebound then led to an Alex Olah basket that gave the 'Cats a 41-39 lead.

    Following a basket by Leland King that tied the game, Olah nailed his first trey of the season before scoring on a putback bucket that put NU in front 46-41 with 7:47 remaining.

    Crawford's basket in the paint with 4:16 left pushed the Northwestern lead to six, but Brown would trim its deficit to two on a tip-in by Rafael Maia with 1:58 left.

    Northwestern's lead was still two when Abrahamson made an aggressive drive to the hoop, making the basket and drawing the foul. The three-point play extended the Wildcats' edge to 54-49 with 42.9 seconds to go.

    Sean McGonagill was fouled with 18 seconds left, but he managed to make only one of two from the line and Crawford hit two on the other end to help seal the win.

    Olah scored eight of his 10 points in the second half and Sobolewski matched a career high with six rebounds to go along with his seven assists. McGonagill, who came into the game averaging 18.9 points per game, finished with a team-high 16 in the contest but was limited to just four in the second half.

    The Wildcats return to action Friday when they renew their rivalry with DePaul. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tickets are available by calling 888-GO-PURPLE or by visiting NUsports.com.

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