EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Northwestern led 20-0 midway through the first half Thursday en route to a 70-47 victory over Mount St. Mary’s, Md.
Drew Crawford led the Wildcats (9-1) with 16 points, and Luka Mirkovic scored 15. John Shurna had 13 points before leaving the game in the second half with a sprained left ankle. Davide Curletti added 11 points.
“The guys were terrific coming out the way they did, jumping onMount St. Mary’s and just never letting them in the game,” said Northwestern coach Bill Carmody, whose team bounced back after its first loss of the season, 85-69 to St. John’s on Tuesday night.
Mount St. Mary’s (3-10) missed its first 15 shots and didn’t score until a three-point play by Julian Norfleet with 10:33 left in the first half. During the Wildcats’ run, the Mountaineers committed five turnovers to none for Northwestern.
“It makes a difference if we could’ve made that first one,” said Mount St. Mary’s coach Robert Burke, who watched his team misfire on several close-in shots in the first half. “We missed a few that we normally would have made. The next thing you know, we’re chasing.”
The Mountaineers were 7 of 30 (23.3 percent) from the field in the first half and 1 of 5 (20.0 percent) from the free throw line.
Mount St. Mary’s shot 52 percent in the second half, finishing 20 of 55 (36.4 percent).
“Once we got our first basket, we were a different team,” Burke said.
Northwestern led 39-16 at halftime and pushed it to 60-26 in the second half.
“It was a good start,” Crawford said. “Our offense was clicking pretty good, but more important to us was the defensive
end. We were able to stop them early. That was huge for us.”
Shurna, the nation’s No. 9 scorer entering the game at 24.4 points per game, collided with Mount St. Mary’s forward Evan Cleveland while going for a defensive rebound in the second half.
He was helped off the court to the locker room but returned to the bench minutes later. He did not re-enter the game.
This was the first meeting between Northwestern and Mount St. Mary’s of the Northeast Conference. Next for Northwestern will be the Big Ten opener Dec. 31 at Purdue. Mount St. Mary’s will next play at Vermont on Dec. 29.
Wildcats freshman starting guard JerShon Cobb missed the game with a back injury and is listed as day-to-day.
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