Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

75° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Men’s basketball: NU fends off Indiana on the road, wins 70-64

Deep in the bowels of Assembly Hall on Saturday night, Michael Thompson was talking to a group of reporters when reserve guard Austin Nichols walked out of the locker room.

“I’ll give you a dollar if you take this to the bus,” Thompson said as he pointed to his suitcase.

Thompsons’s proposal was only fitting, as the senior captain had just carried his team for 40 minutes, scoring a game-high 22 points in Northwestern’s 70-64 win.

“It’s fun to be around and it’s fun to be a part of,” John Shurna said of Thompson’s performance. “He’s our senior captain and he’s a heck of a player.”

After losing 35 consecutive games in Bloomington, Ind., Saturday’s victory was the Wildcats’ second in the past three years.

“(Road wins) are hard to come by in the Big Ten,” coach Bill Carmody said. “Things would have to really fall and we would really have to get on an upswing the last couple weeks but that’s what we’re shooting so that we go into the Big Ten Tournament feeling good.”

After a back-and-forth-affair in the first half of the opening period, Thompson put the Cats (16-10, 6-9 Big Ten) on his back, scoring 12 points over the next two minutes. NU went on a 16-3 run in a five minute span midway through the first half, giving the Cats a 10-point lead. NU never trailed after that.

“(Thompson) was calling his own number a lot,” Carmody said. “He really got us going”

The Hoosiers (12-15, 3-11) made several runs in the second half, but every time Indiana cut NU’s lead, the Cats responded. Seven minutes after intermission the Hoosiers had pulled within one, but Shurna killed any momentum with a three-pointer from the top of the key. Indiana responded with a three of its own, but on NU’s next possession sophomore guard Alex Marcotullio connected on a long ball. Two minutes later with the score tied at 52, Shurna hit another trey.

“The way they played us plays right into our hands,” Thompson said. “They play us with pressure sometimes and at times they lay off. We just did a good job of executing and moving through our offense.”

Shurna poured in 19 points Saturday on 6-of-10 shooting. It was his highest point total since dropping 24 on Jan. 18 in a win over Michigan. The junior forward’s night is made more impressive by the fact that he played the final eight minutes of the game with four fouls.

“(Shurna’s) just got to get stronger again,” Carmody said. “He came through, he blocked a shot at the end and he got some rebounds. I just thought he was nice.”

Saturday’s win marks the second time in the past three years that NU has swept the season series with Indiana. Since 2009 the Cats hold a 6-1 advantage over the Hoosiers.

NU will look to win its third-consecutive conference contest for the first time all year when it welcomes Penn State to Welsh-Ryan Arena on Thursday.

“The last couple of games haven’t erased the Penn State game and the Michigan game,” Carmody said. “But I just liked the way we behaved tonight.”

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Men’s basketball: NU fends off Indiana on the road, wins 70-64