Northwestern extends its winning streak to six games and improves to 7-1 on the season, the first time in school history the team has started 7-1 in back-to-back years.Crawford's hot shooting was part of an extremely efficient offensive first half for the Wildcats, who shot 50 percent from the field and assisted on 14 of 15 baskets over the opening 20 minutes to go into the locker room with a 50-37 advantage.
Junior point guard Michael Thompson finished as NU's next-highest scorer behind Crawford with 19 while dishing out eight assists compared to just one turnover.Crawford's first 3-pointer of the game came at the 16:45 mark when NU broke an A&T full-court press without the ball ever hitting the floor. Crawford really heated up with the score tied at 11 three minutes later, connecting on triples on three consecutive possessions to quickly give the 'Cats a 20-11 advantage.
Jeremy Nash followed suit by hitting a trey shortly after and, after a Crawford layup on the next possession, freshman Alex Marcotullio got in on the action with a three to make it 28-16 in Northwestern's favor with 9:10 left in the first.With Northwestern's lead standing at 11 following the final media timeout of the half, Crawford sandwiched a pair of threes around two North Carolina A&T free throws as NU took a 49-34 lead with less than three minutes to go before the break.
NU's 50 first-half points fell just short of its all-time high of 53 during the Bill Carmody era. The Wildcats attempted only five shots from inside the arc in the first half.The second half was more of the same as the Aggies struggled mightily coming out of the halftime break, missing 13 of their first 14 attempts from the field as Northwestern's lead expanded to 23 at the 13:36 mark on a pair of free throws by John Shurna.
Marcotullio managed to connect on the record-setting trifecta from the right wing with just over nine minutes remaining, putting NU ahead 68-46. Three possessions later, Thompson helped NU put an exclamation point on the win when he lofted a fast-break alley-oop pass that Nash slammed home to bring the crowd at Welsh-Ryan Arena to its feet.Thompson chipped in five 3-pointers to NU's long-range effort, tying a career-high. Northwestern finished the game shooting 44.4 percent from the field overall.
Crawford's 35 points set a Northwestern freshman record. The team's 20 3-point makes bested the previous conference mark of 18 set by Ohio State against LSU Jan. 15, 2005, while the 47 attempts topped Michigan's total of 42 against Florida Gulf Coast Dec. 22, 2008.The Wildcats return to action Wednesday night when they host North Florida. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. to accommodate the ESPNU live broadcast.