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

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

The Daily Northwestern


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Men’s Basketball: Penn State dominates the paint in Northwestern’s win

When Penn State needed a bucket to keep Northwestern within its grasp, it knew exactly where to go: the paint.

The Nittany Lions (12-17, 4-12 Big Ten) scored 40 of their 66 points inside the painted area even though the Wildcats (17-11, 7-9) escaped University Park, Pa., with a 67-66 win. Penn State attempted only 14 3-pointers, making 3 of them, but shot 60 percent inside the arc as the Big Ten cellar dweller hung with a Cats team sitting on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament.

“There were definitely some things we weren’t doing well with the 1-3-1 (zone),” junior guard Reggie Hearn said. “We were able to cure it up by going to man-to-man towards the end and luckily we were able to pull out the game.”

The dominance inside was evident early when Penn State grabbed 6 of the first 7 rebounds, including 3 on the offensive glass. The edge in rebounding allowed the Nittany Lions to get out to an early 7-point lead. The advantage grew to as much as 8 points before NU started to compete better on the boards, allowing the Cats to get to the halftime break up 6.

NU’s renewed emphasis on crashing the boards played a huge role in its comeback in the first half. In the last 13 minutes and 53 seconds of the first half, the Cats outscored the Nittany Lions 24-15 and were outrebounded only 14-12.

Hearn said the difference in the latter part of the first half was due to hustle and determination.

“It just came down to effort,” Hearn said. “There were some long rebounds that they were getting that we weren’t getting. A lot of the credit for the rebounding goes to Drew (Crawford), who was doing really well on the boards and really carried us in that area of the game.”

Crawford finished with 9 rebounds in the game, including 3 of the Cats’ 5 offensive rebounds. The junior forward added 13 points, but both senior forward John Shurna and Hearn said Crawford’s effort rebounding really inspired the team to perform better on the boards.

The Cats stretched their lead to 9 points in the early part of the second half, but were never able to find a solution inside the paint. In the last seven minutes of the game, Penn State scored 10 of its 11 points inside the paint, with the lone point not in the painted area being the completion of guard Tim Frazier’s 3-point play.

The Nittany Lions had a 7-4 rebounding advantage in that seven-minute span, keeping the Cats to only defensive rebounds while Penn State capitalized on the lone offensive rebound in that stretch with Frazier’s 3-point play.

Shurna said NU needed to do a better job attacking Penn State’s point of attack and not letting it get easy looks.

“We probably have to put a little more pressure on their passes, just because they were able to make passes and make pretty open shots,” the senior forward said.

The biggest difference Shurna said he saw between the loss to Michigan last Tuesday and the win over Penn State was the battle on the glass.

“We made a better effort rebounding-wise,” Shurna said. “Drew came up with a lot of rebounds for us, and we came up with that extra play when we needed it.”

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Men’s Basketball: Penn State dominates the paint in Northwestern’s win