Dec. 10, 2011
Site: Chicago, Ill. (Gentile Arena)
Score: Northwestern 72, Loyola 67
Records: NU (7-1, 0-0 Big Ten), Loyola (4-5, 0-0 Horizon)
Next NU Event: Wednesday, Dec. 14 -- vs. Morgan State (Evanston, Ill.) Noon CT
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern fought back from a 12-point first-half deficit and staved off a late Loyola attack to earn a 72-67 win at Gentile Arena Saturday afternoon. Kendall Hackney and Dannielle Diamant led the Wildcats offensively, tying a season-high and a career-high, respectively, with 20 points each. Freshman Morgan Jones added 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. With the victory, NU improves to 7-1 on the year.
Loyola used a 57 percent shooting effort, including three triples, to jump out to a 13-3 lead through the first six minutes. As it has done so many times in the past, Northwestern concentrated on its defensive efforts, which ultimately sparked the offensive attack. Four Rambler turnovers in as many minutes led to a 6-1 Wildcat run, narrowing what was a double-digit lead down to seven at the 7:46 mark.
Northwestern continued to focus on defense while outscoring the Ramblers 11-4 over the net four minutes to make it a two-point game, 24-22, with five minutes remaining in the stanza. After exchanging baskets over the next three minutes, Loyola found itself with a 29-24 lead, and that's exactly when Morgan Jones decided to score. The freshman nailed back-to-back three pointers to give NU its first lead of the game with just under two minutes left.
The score was deadlocked at 32 heading into the break. Morgan Jones led NU with eight points, while Hackney and Diamant each added six. Loyola shot 50 percent from the field, including six three pointers.
Northwestern opened the second half with renewed focus, composing a 9-2 run to take a 41-34 lead four minutes in. But the Ramblers showed some resilience of their own, going on a similar spurt, 7-2, to pull within a bucket, 43-41, at the 14:43 mark of the half.
Thanks to a balanced scoring attack, the Wildcats outscored Loyola 16-3 over the next seven minutes to successfully control the game and ultimately record their seventh victory of the season. Loyola mounted a solid comeback effort--pulling to within six--but ran out of time, falling to 4-5 on the year.
Northwestern is next in action at noon on Wednesday, Dec. 14, when it battles Morgan State in the annual Field Trip Day.
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