Wildcats Shutdown UTPA Broncs

After two back-and-forth battles with Texas-Pan American, NU head coach Bill Carmody was ready for a challenge. Instead, the Wildcats took control early and didn't let up, cruising to a season-opening 60-36 win over the Broncs.

"I'm just happy this game is over, to tell you the truth," Carmody said to the media after the win. "Last year, it was a nail-biter. It wasn't what we were looking forward to."

Northwestern finished with three players in double-figure scoring, led by John Shurna's 15 points. The Wildcats slowed down the Broncs' attack, holding them to just 36 points and a 29.8 percent from the field.

In the Wildcats' first game of the post-Juice Thompson era, they showed no ill-effects. Dave Sobolewski took reigns of the offense, with Alex Marcotullio, Reggie Hearn, and Tre Demps mixing in, too.

"I like our guards," said Carmody. "I think we got a good bunch of guards. You got Alex (Marcotullio), JerShon (Cobb), and Reggie (Hearn) playing a little tonight. I'm fine with our backcourt."

Bill Carmody's starting lineup included three new starters. Former walk-on Reggie Hearn made his first career start, while Sobolewski and fellow freshman Tre Demps formed the Wildcats' backcourt.

Sophomore guard Jershon Cobb did not play, as he recovers from a hip injury. Alex Marcotullio and Drew Crawford, who have been limited in practice due to injuries, each saw significant playing time coming off the bench.

This was the first game in which Drew Crawford was not in the starting lineup. However, his ankle is nearing full health.

"I sat out the first few (practices), didn't really do too much," said Crawford. "I was doing a lot of rehab with the trainer. He's really helping me along getting back."

Senior center Luka Mirkovic had success against the Broncs' undersized frontcourt. Mirkovic finished with 12 points and five rebounds. As Mirkovic heated up, his teammates continued to feed him the ball.

"I think in any situation, we're trying to get Luka the ball," said John Shurna. "When he's playing well, we're playing well."

Northwestern can now turn their attention to the Charleston Classic tournament, where they face the potential of three games in three days. In order to make that happen, they must take down the LSU Tigers in the first round.

The Wildcats will begin to analyze the scouting report of LSU during their Tuesday morning practice. Luka Mirkovic doesn't know much about the Tigers' basketball team, but…

"I know they got a great football team," Mirkovic said.

Tipoff for Northwestern's first-round match with LSU is set for 2:00 CT. from Charleston.

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