Hearn Helps NU Past CCSU

Northwestern was able to hold off the stingy attack of Central Connecticut State, winning by a score of 70-64. Former walk-on guard Reggie Hearn stole the show, hitting clutch shots, and helping the Wildcats solidify the victory.

In need of a big boost against a feisty Central Connecticut State team, the Wildcats' answer came in the form of former walk-on guard Reggie Hearn, who was referred to as a "Joe Cool kind of guy" by his head coach.

Hearn finished with a career-high 17 points—15 of those coming in the second half—including a clutch three-pointer late in the game. His contributions were key in helping Northwestern hold off the Blue Devils, 70-64.

The junior guard has averaged more than 20 minutes per game, and has become a key role player for the Wildcats' offense this season. Hearn is taking advantage of his playing time, but where was he in the past?

"I might have ignored him a bit," joked NU head coach Bill Carmody.

Hearn isn't being ignored anymore. He connected on six of seven shots from the field, and hit all four 3-point attempts.

NU senior forward John Shurna struggled on Saturday, finishing the game shooting just 3-14 from the field, and 1-9 from three-point territory. In lieu of Shurna, the former walk-on, Hearn, helped the Wildcats to victory.

"Reggie picked up where John usually comes through," Carmody said after the game.

Northwestern's strong start was quickly offset by an 18-6 Blue Devil run, given them a seven-point lead. The Wildcats' blunders continued into the late portion of the first half. Central Connecticut State went on to take an eight-point lead with under four minutes remaining in the half.

Jershon Cobb sparked the Wildcats with a three-point play, and John Shurna's only three-pointer of the game was a big one, beating the buzzer to give Northwestern a halftime edge.

The back-and-forth action continued into the second half, before Reggie Hearn delivered again. Hearn's three-pointer with 14:28 on the clock gave Northwestern a lead, which it would never let up.

The Blue Devils continued to battle in the final minute, cutting the Northwestern lead to a two-point margin, but junior forward Drew Crawford connected on a two-pointer, giving the Wildcats a four-point lead, which would prove to be the dagger.

The Wildcats received a tough battle from the Blue Devils, but were able to hold on.

"That's a good team," said Carmody. "They have good players. We knew that. You win and move on to tomorrow night."

Even after a standout performance, Reggie Hearn was still not pleased with his overall performance, which he pointed out involves more than scoring.

"I'm looking at the stat sheet," he said. "I didn't have any rebounds. You guys see my scoring. I had a couple turnovers. I threw it to the ref one time.

"I just feel with my all-around game, I could have done better in some other areas."

Even so, Hearn's efforts were enough to help the Wildcats, while bailing out John Shurna on an off night. The senior forward, who is averaging 18.3 points per game, struggled mightily against the Blue Devils' stingy defense. However, his issues aren't a concern to Coach Carmody.

"He's a senior," said Carmody. "You have a game like this, he'll figure it out. There's nothing I can say. You get a veteran like John, he'll figure it out."

The Wildcats complete their stretch of three games in four days on Sunday evening, when Eastern Illinois comes to Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tipoff is set for 5:00.

GAME NOTES:

Alex Marcotullio played three minutes after missing action in Thursday's game. Bill Carmody said the only reason the junior guard played was because "I was mad at everyone else." Carmody added that Marcotullio said he is feeling better today.

Luka Mirkovic finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, and five assists—that coming off a rocky performance against Texas Southern.

David Sobolewski struggled at times, finishing with just six points on 2-8 shooting from the field.

• The Wildcats finished the game shooting 43. 9 percent from the field, and shot 50 percent in the second half. NU's fortunes from beyond the arc turned around in the second half, too. The Wildcats connected on 7-15 three-pointers, after hitting just 2-14 in the first half.

• CCSU guard Kyle Vinales lead all scorers with 27 points, while Robby Ptacek added 17 and Ken Horton posted 15. Those three players are each averaging double-figure scoring.


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