On Northwestern’s first possession, John Shurna drove to the center of the paint and elevated above the defense for an acrobatic dunk attempt – only to be rejected by the rim.
Although the Wildcats struggled mightily to finish plays in the early going, they maintained their senior forward’s intensity throughout a 60-36 season-opening victory over Texas Pan-American at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Stout and persistent defense anchored NU’s victory, holding the Broncs (0-2) to a 29.8 percent clip from the field. The Cats (1-0) also managed to capitalize on their height advantage.
No Texas Pan-American starter was taller than six feet, six inches, and this deficit in size translated to a flurry of interior baskets for Luka Mirkovic. The six-foot-11 senior center finished with 12 points and five rebounds in a game in which points came at a premium.
“In any situation, we’re trying to get Luka the ball,” Shurna said. “When he plays well, we play