Hot-Shooting Shurna Leads 'Cats Past Michigan

Following a heartbreaking loss, and in desperate need of a win, Northwestern responded with a 74-60 win over the Michigan Wolverines. The victory is Northwestern's third-straight win over the Wolverines.

John Shurna led all scorers with 24 points, 22 of those points coming in the first half. Northwestern (12-5, 3-4) also had Luka Mirkovic and Juice Thompson in double-figures.

The game appeared to be off to a back-and-forth pace, when John Shurna caught fire. The junior forward hit 12-straight Northwestern points, igniting a 20-9 run for the Wildcats, and giving them a 14-point lead.

Facing a tough double-team, Shurna would slow down his pace, but the Wildcats defense kicked in after that point. Northwestern held Northwestern to under 40% from the field, and 6-21 from beyond the arc.

A big part of Northwestern's defensive effort was containing Michigan in the paint, and forcing the Wolverines to take bad shots.

"In the first half, we made some mistakes," NU head coach Bill Carmody said after the game. "We said, let them have two, but don't let them get off."

The Wildcats continued to roll in the opening part of the second half, as they jumped out to a 22-point lead. Michigan was able to hang around in the second half, but could never cut their deficit closer to 12.

Northwestern was able to keep the offense going with strong production from the bench. Davide Curletti, Alex Marcotullio, and Mike Capocci combined for 14 points and nine rebounds in 51 total minutes.

However, the game was won by the strong performance from John Shurna. Shurna has battled through a high-ankle sprain, which has kept him from his usual strong performances. But Shurna showed no ill-effects on Tuesday, with his 24 points (8-14 from the field), and eight rebounds.

After the game, Shurna admitted he has no choice but to battle through the pain.

"It's ok. I'm trying to do therapy and treatment for it," Shurna said about his ankle. "I've been told it just needs time, and we have games every day."

Bill Carmody said that Shurna had one of his worst practices ever on Monday, but admitted that Tuesday's performance was a great way to bounce back from the "horrible" practice.

The Wildcats have just one day to prepare for their next game, a Thursday evening matchup with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Tipoff for that game is set for 5:30 CT.

After that, the Wildcats continue their conference play with a Sunday game against the Wisconsin Badgers. That tipoff has been changed to 11:30, to accommodate fans who would like to watch the Bears-Packers game.

Check out our photo gallery, with images from photographer Gabriel Peal.

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