Crawford Propels Northwestern Past Terriers

NEW YORK -- Northwestern was led by a near triple-double from sophomore Drew Crawford and four Wildcats posted double figures in a 92-61 victory over St. Francis (N.Y.) in the opening game of the Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden.

The Wildcats advance to Tuesday night's championship game slated for 8:30 p.m. Central time where they'll take on St. John's, a winner over Davidson in Monday's nightcap.

Crawford stuffed the stat sheet with 25 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists, just missing what would have been the third triple-double in program history.

Junior John Shurna added 26 points, six boards and a career-high-tying four steals, as the `Cats recorded their third 90-point performance of the season. Northwestern had not posted three or more 90-point nights since the 1993-94 season.

The Terriers were able to hang around early, closing the Northwestern lead to 17-15 with 11:58 to play in the first half. However, a pretty backdoor lay-in by sophomore guard Alex Marcotullio sparked a game-changing 19-4 run that gave the Wildcats a 36-19 lead they would never relinquish.

NU would eventually take a 45-31 lead into the intermission thanks to the trio of Crawford, Shurna and Thompson who tallied 13, 11 and 10 points, respectively. The Wildcats entered the game leading the Big Ten with and average of 9.7 3-point makes per game and they connected on eight treys over the first 20 minutes of play alone.

St. Francis tallied the first seven points of the second half to creep back within 45-38, but Crawford scored 12 points during a 14-2 run that built Northwestern's advantage to 19, 61-42, and the Terriers never seriously threatened again.

Shurna had just two points in the first 10:19 of the second half, but the Big Ten's scoring leader posted 13 points over a span of 4:35 to surpass his season average of 23.7 points per game. Crawford's eight assists bested his previous career high of five set in NU's most recent game against American Dec. 16. In all, the Wildcats assisted on 26 of their 34 field goals in the contest.

Northwestern's defensive pressure was key as they forced the Terriers into 21 turnovers and converted them into 35 points.

The Wildcats shot 50.7 percent (34-67) from the field in the contest to 40.7 percent (22-54) for St. Francis.

Purple Wildcats Top Stories