Men’s Basketball: Bears win by keeping Cats’ top dogs in check

Josh Walfish

Northwestern’s success had been grounded in the play of its star forwards.

Senior John Shurna and junior Drew Crawford lit up the scoreboard for the Wildcats as they cruised to a 7-0 start to the season. However, in the biggest challenge of NU’s non-conference slate, the star duo – and the Cats – came up empty-handed.

“Everyone was excited for the game,” Crawford said. “We just came out flat and that’s definitely something we can’t do. The one thing we said that we needed to do was come out with a lot of energy and we were unable to do that.”

A duo that averaged a combined 37.6 points per game was nearly non-existent during NU’s 69-41 loss on Sunday. No. 7 Baylor held Crawford and Shurna to 26 combined points.

The pair took more than half of NU’s shots, but hit a woeful 25.7 percent of its attempts from the field. Shurna and Crawford were even worse from behind the arc, knocking sown only three of their 15 attempts. Baylor coach Scott Drew credited the Bears’ defensive success to their depth and competitive practices leading up to the game.

“We have a lot of depth in practice,” Drew said. “We have players that can simulate other players. The big thing is that every day just being competitive.”

Forward Quincy Acy praised Shurna, calling him a “great player.” He said that the Bears’ focus on Shurna helped hold the senior forward without a three-pointer, limiting him to just 11 points overall.

“Coach made it known to us that we had to pay close attention to him,” Acy said. “We really watched a lot of film on him and saw a lot of his tendencies and we tried to take that away, make him feel uncomfortable.”

Freshman guard Dave Sobelewski said that the Bears were the most athletic team the Cats have faced this season. Baylor’s athleticism hindered NU’s ability to work the ball inside to open up its top scorers.

Coach Bill Carmody said he was upset that the Cats did not take open jumpers from the elbows. He said that was a big reason why NU shot so poorly from the field.

“That foul line area was wide open and we weren’t able to take advantage of that,” Carmody said. “We should have been taking shots instead of driving it into their strength. They average seven or eight blocks per game and I’m sure they got that tonight.”

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