EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwesterns John Shurna launched a three-point shot, which fell short of the rim with a little more than six minutes remaining in the first half of Sundays game with Indiana.
Teammate Alex Marcotullio came out of nowhere, jumped to save the ball from going out of bounds and made a pass to JerShon Cobb. The Wildcats freshman nailed an open three-pointer.
In a game both teams had to win, Northwestern (10-4, 1-3 Big Ten) built a double-digit lead in the first half by outhustling the Hoosiers and held on to beat IU 93-81 in front of 6,719 fans at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
We did not play disciplined at all, especially on the weakside, IU coach Tom Crean said of the first-half struggles. We dont practice that way. We guard this every day in the sense that you cant get so enamored with the personnel; its the system that beats you.
Our issues were that we werent just off enough; we didnt have good enough ball pressure and we just started hanging our heads and started playing really immature in the first half.
The Hoosiers (9-8, 0-4) surrendered the most points theyve given up this season en route to a sixth straight loss. No IU players were made available after the game.
Northwestern has won five of six against the Hoosiers. John Shurna led the Wildcats with 24 points. He made 4 of 5 three-pointers. Luka Mirkovic added 20 points and 12 rebounds. Michael Thompson scored 16 points while Cobb finished with 11.
The guys came out and moved the ball nicely in the first half, Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said.
Christian Watford scored all of his team-high 17 points in the second half. Victor Oladipo had 13 points and Jordan Hulls scored 12. Verdell Jones III had 10 points and nine assists.
Both teams entered the game winless in the Big Ten. While the Wildcats showed energy, the Hoosiers looked flat.
Indiana also didnt have any answers for Northwesterns outside game.
The Wildcats made 10 three-pointers, several of them on wide-open shots. Northwestern made the Hoosiers pay.
Cobbs open three, which came on a broken play, put IU in a 26-14 hole. The Hoosiers trailed at halftime 40-28.
Shurna, Cobb and Drew Crawford made three-pointers on three consecutive trips down the court to stretch the lead to 61-42 with 13:52 remaining in the game.
Indiana got within eight late when an Oladipo followed a Watford three-pointer with a layup. His basket cut the deficit to 82-74 with two minutes remaining.
Crawford answered for Northwestern with a three-pointer, ending Indianas late push.
In the second half, we started to come back and play desperate, Crean said. We have to understand we have to play that way in the first half.