Aug. 30, 2010
WATCH: 'Cats at the Colosseum and Game Highlights
LATINA, Italy -
Follow along right here at NUsports.com as we'll be blogging throughout the Northwestern men's basketball team's first game of its Italian tour as it takes on AB Latina. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. CT.
7:30 p.m. -
Buongiorno from Italy! Follow along throughout tonight's contest as the Wildcats take on AB Latina, a team from Italy's Lega Due, or second division. AB Latina went 7-23 a year ago. The gymnasium we're at seats about 1,500 people. Northwestern will have a cheering section tonight as Davide Curletti's parents and sister are in attendance. Davide's parents are originally from Italy and his sister currently lives here. Latina is located about 50 km from Rome and it took Northwestern about an hour and a half to get here. There are some great American tunes pumping on the sound system, including Tupac, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. Feels just like home (in 1995)!
7:47 p.m. -
We're already having a few issues with the internet connection, so please bear with us if things go awry!
7:55 p.m. -
They're introducing the teams. There will be a gift exchange between the teams. The Wildcats will be distributing t-shirts and it looks like they'll be receiving small flags.
8:00 p.m. -
Northwestern's starting lineup consists of Michael Thompson, Alex Marcotullio, Drew Crawford, John Shurna and Luka Mirkovic.
Marcotullio with the first hoop of the game, but AB Latina with a pair of baskets before Juice hits one of two from the line. NU trails 4-3 three minutes in.
Consecutive treys by Shurna and Crawford help the Wildcats tie the game 9-9 with 5:24 to go in the first quarter. (We're playing four 10-minute quarters.)
A number of turnovers both ways as a rather slick playing service is causing players from both teams to slip and fall. The music here is great, but would never pass the censorship test at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Trio of subs for Northwestern as Curletti, Cobb and Capocci are in and Thompson, Shurna and Mirkovic take a seat. Wildcats lead 18-13 at the end of the first quarter. Crawford is the leading scorer early on with 7 points.
Northwestern connects on 6 of 12 field goal attempts in the first quarter and 3 of 4 free throw attempts.
'Cats match their largest lead of 7 at 22-15 on a pair by Shurna from the charity stripe.
Crawford is up to 11 points as Northwestern leads 26-16 with 4:40 to go second quarter. Current lineup for NU is Fruendt, Crawford, Capocci, Peljuic and Curletti. NU has four players with 2 fouls.
Special thanks to marketing guru Beth Cunningham and athletic trainer Lanny Bradford for helping keep the stats! Crawford drains a trey (off a nice feed from Fruendt) and he's up to 14 points as NU now leads 29-18 with 3:30 left 1st half.
A 10-0 run by AB Latina helps the hosts close with 29-28 before JerShon Cobb ends the first half by hitting a 3-pointer to take a four-point lead into the intermission. Northwestern played the majority of the second quarter without Thompson, Shurna and Marcotullio on the floor due to foul trouble. Wildcats shoot 11-for-25 from the floor in the first half, including 5-for-13 from 3-point range. Crawford is the high scorer with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Curletti and Capocci have a team-high 4 rebounds apiece. Marcotullio, Shurna and Cobb with 5 points apiece.
Same starters for the second half as those who opened the game for Northwestern. Marcotullio drills a trey to start the third quarter, giving NU a 35-28 lead.
Alex deposits another triple to make it a 9-0 run for Northwestern spanning both halves. AB Latina has been cold from the outside, but they make a trey to cut the Wildcats lead to 38-31 with 4:58 left third quarter.
Northwestern has been called for numerous travels in the game due to taking a step before putting the ball on the floor. They definitely crack down on that more in FIBA than they do in the U.S. Wildcats need to make the adjustment. Juice finally hits his first basket of the game, a 3-pointer, to make it 44-33, but he follows by picking up his fourth foul.
Shurna hits a 3-pointer to conclude the third quarter and Northwestern leads 47-39 entering the final period of play. All 15 of the Wildcats points in the third quarter came on five 3-point baskets. Curletti has 7 rebounds for NU.
A steal by Cobb followed by great ball movement on the other end results in a deposit from the top of the key by Fruendt. Northwestern extends its lead to 50-39 with 8:21 to go.
AB Latina closes within five, but a lay-in by Shurna and a 3-pointer by Mirkovic pushes the 'Cats lead to 58-48 with five minutes remaining.
Northwestern has led throughout, but this one is still in doubt as the hosts are within 58-52 with 3:01 to go. The Wildcats have only one 2-point basket this half.
Juice has had an off night, but his lay-in (great feed by Marcotullio) and a free throw makes it 61-54 NU with under two minutes left.
Shurna seals it from the free throw line as he hits four down the stretch and Northwestern wins its first game in Italy, defeating AB Latina 67-61.
Northwestern Box Score:
Shurna - 4-7 6-6 17, Crawford - 6-13 2-3 16, Capocci - 1-2 0-0 2, Marcotullio - 4-6 0-0 11, Nichols - 0-0 0-0 0, Hearn - 0-0 0-0 0, Mirkovic - 1-6 0-0 3, Fruendt - 1-1 0-0 3, Peljusic - 0-0 0-0 0, Thompson - 2-10 2-3 7, Cobb - 2-4 0-0 5, Curletti - 1-4 0-0 3.
Rebounding: Crawford 7, Curletti 6, Mirkovic 5, Shurna 4, Capocci 4, Marcotullio 4, Cobb 3, Fruendt 1, Peljusic 1.
Assists: Thompson 3, Marcotullio 2, Fruendt 2, Shurna 2, Curletti 2, Nichols 1, Mirkovic 1, Cobb 1.
Steals: Marcotullio 3, Mirkovic 2, Fruendt 1, Cobb 1, Shurna 1, Crawford 1.
Blocks: Marcotullio 1, Shurna 1.