Wildcats Knock Off The Rust

The Wildcats showed a bit of rust, but it didn't matter. Northwestern took control from the start and never let up, beating Texas Southern, 81-51, and earning the Wildcats a win in their difficult four-day stretch.

Even slight struggles weren't enough to slow down Northwestern (8-1). 11 days after their last game, the Wildcats shook off the rust, handily beating Texas Southern (1-7), 81-51.

John Shurna led all scorers with 20 points, while adding six rebounds, five assists, and three blocks. Drew Crawford finished with 17 points, while David Sobolewski added 15 points.

"I thought it was nice all around," said NU head coach Bill Carmody. "I thought Drew (Crawford) and Johnny (Shurna) were good. Nice team effort."

The Wildcats opened up a 23-3 lead just eight minutes into the game, and never looked back. The Tigers would cut the Northwestern lead to 12 late in the second half, but the Wildcats would close out the half on a 9-0 run.

Northwestern stayed in command during the second half, opening up a 30-point margin late in the game.

Sophomore guard Jershon Cobb was able to see significant minutes in the second half, and played 23 minutes in total—the most he has played this season.

Cobb has battled through a hip injury, then suffered a concussion against Stony Brook. He benefitted from the long layoff, using the time to rest his injuries.

"I'm feeling a lot better than I was," said Cobb. "I think the concussion helped me with my hip. That time off, it helped me with my rest. Now I feel great."

Thursday's game was the first of three games played in a four-day span. After one day of practice, the Wildcats return to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Saturday afternoon to host Central Connecticut State.

Northwestern has already endured a tough three-game run this season, playing in the Charleston Classic tournament in November, and reeling off three consecutive wins. The Wildcats hope to take a similar approach during the current stretch.

"We kind of know what to expect," said Sobolewski. "We know what kind of time we need to put into each team. We've got to take it one game at a time and can't overlook any team we play, because on any given night, we can get beat anytime we don't show up."


• Junior guard Alex Marcotullio (toe) did not play. This was just his second missed game of the season.

Luka Mirkovic struggled at times, but finished with eight points on 2-5 from the field. His day of ups and downs included an air-ball on a free throw and running the fast break on a steal.

• Northwestern continues to post an impressive assist-to-turnover ratio in each game. The Wildcats finished with 24 assists, compared to just 11 turnovers. Meanwhile, they forced 21 Texas Southern turnovers.

• This was the fourth time Northwestern has posted 80 points in a game.

• Late in the game, Bill Carmody was able to empty his bench. Nick Fruendt, Davide Curletti, and walk-ons James Montgomery III and Omar Jimenez each saw minutes.

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