Photos by Katherine Tang / North by Northwestern.
Freshman John Shurna hit a game-winning 3-pointer from the corner with 3.3 seconds left as the ‘Cats overcame a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat Ohio State 72-69. Junior Kevin Coble led the ‘Cats with 26 points while senior Craig Moore rebounded from a couple of poor recent showings with a 23-point night.
The ‘Cats played a lackluster first half but a 3-point-play from freshman Wildcat Kyle Rowley kick-started a 21-9 run in the second half’s first 10 minutes.
Northwestern led 69-64 heading into the final minute, but a 3-pointer from Ohio State’s William Buford and a layup from Jon Diebler — the Buckeyes leading scorer with 28 points — tied the game at 69. With late collapses in the previous two games against Illinois and Michigan, the ‘Cats had to be a little worried that their second-half ghosts were about to make another appearance.
But this time Northwestern came through under pressure. Junior Michael Thompson found Shurna in the corner, who calmly swished the 3-pointer to give Northwestern a three point lead. The clock ran out before the Bucks could attempt a last shot to tie the game and the ‘Cats (14-10) could celebrate their fifth conference win.
Ohio State will head back to Columbus knowing that, with their next three games against Illinois, Penn State and Purdue, their NCAA tournament hopes hang in the balance.
The ‘Cats will try to continue with the role of spoiler when they take on the Minnesota Gophers on Sunday night in Minneapolis. At 7-6 in Big Ten play, the Gophers are currently on the bubble and need to defeat Northwestern if they hope to avoid the NIT come March.