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Men’s Basketball: Crawford leaves Welsh-Ryan floor for final time in blowout loss

Senior forward Drew Crawford walks onto the Welsh-Ryan Arena floor for the final time during Northwestern's Senior Night festivities. Crawford scored just 6 points in his home finale.

Susan Du/Daily Senior Staffer

Senior forward Drew Crawford walks onto the Welsh-Ryan Arena floor for the final time during Northwestern's Senior Night festivities. Crawford scored just 6 points in his home finale.

Alex Putterman, Assistant Sports Editor

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There was only 1:13 remaining in a blowout loss, but one more important matter of business required attention.

After almost 2,500 minutes played at Welsh-Ryan Arena, senior forward Drew Crawford came off the floor for the last time.

The crowd gamely stood and cheered as Crawford walked toward coach Chris Collins. Collins spoke into Crawford’s ear, and the senior wiped his eyes. When Crawford sat down on the bench, he buried his head in a towel and scarcely looked up again.

“It was a tough moment because it’s been a good career here at Northwestern,” Crawford said afterward, again slightly choked up, “And to finish like this was tough.”

The senior forward was one of three Northwestern seniors — along with guard James Montgomery III and forward Nikola Cerina — honored before Thursday’s game against Penn State in a Senior Night ceremony.

Each player was announced and his accomplishments read as he walked to midcourt. There, Collins, University President Morton Schapiro and athletic director Jim Phillips greeted the players and their families with hugs and framed jerseys.

Crawford, third in program history in points scored, received the loudest ovation from an announced crowd of 6,253.

“The Northwestern community has always taken care of me,” Crawford said. “They’ve always supported me, and I’ve always tried to work my hardest for this program.”

Once the game started, the fuzzy feelings dissipated. NU was blown out from the start and eventually lost 59-32. Crawford shot 2-of-9 for only 6 points, and Cerina and Montgomery failed to score.

With just under two minutes to play, Cerina and Montgomery joined Crawford on the floor to a nice ovation, before Crawford was removed for the final time. Collins got teary when describing what he told his senior leader.

“The main thing I said to him is, first of all, that I love coaching him,” Collins said. “Secondly, I told him I don’t want tonight to be indicative of what he’s meant to this program and to this team this year.

“More than anything, I just said, ‘Hold your head high,’” Collins continued. “Because he should. He’s one of the great players to play in this program but not even just the way he’s played, the way he’s carried himself. …  He’s the model of what I want this program to be about.”

Email: asputt@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @AlexPutt02

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