Shurna leads Northwestern past No. 23 Notre Dame -

Shurna leads Northwestern past No. 23 Notre Dame

CHICAGO (AP) -- John Shurna scored a career-high 25 points and freshman Alex Marcotullio made a pair of key 3-pointers in the second half Friday night as Northwestern beat No. 23 Notre Dame 72-58 in the Chicago Invitational Challenge.

Northwestern (4-1) will face Iowa State in the finals Saturday night at the UIC Pavilion. The Cyclones (6-0) pulled away in the second half to beat Saint Louis 65-54 on Friday night.

Northwestern built a 12-point lead in the second half before the Irish (5-1) rallied. They were within one when Marcotullio sank a 3-pointer. When Notre Dame chopped it to 58-56, Marcotullio hit another 3-pointer with two minutes left.

Shurna then worked his way inside for a basket with a minute remaining and Michael Thompson dropped in four free throws in the final 48 seconds to secure the victory.

Luke Harangody led Notre Dame with 21 points.

Notre Dame, playing for the first time this season away from home, shot only 32 percent. Ben Hansbrough was 1 for 10 from the field and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts.

Northwestern, trying to recover from losing scoring leader Kevin Coble to a season-ending foot injury, used its typical screening, back-cut, work-the-clock offense. The Wildcats also slowed the Irish down with a 1-3-1 half-court zone defense that allowed them to surround Harangody.

Thompson hit a a 3-pointer and drove for a basket, Jeremy Nash sank a 3, Luka Mirkovic worked inside for a basket and Shurna also scored during a 12-0 run that opened up a 50-38 lead with 12 minutes to go.

The Irish then caught up by picking up their defense and getting to the line. Harangody made four free throws, Carleton Scott dunked, Tim Abromaitis hit a 3-pointer, Scott made two free throws and Harangody had a layup in a 13-2 run that cut it to 52-51 with just over seven minutes left.

Marcotullio ended Northwestern's three-minute drought with a 3-pointer and added two free throws to extend the lead to six.

Abromaitis hit a 3-pointer to make it 58-54 and the Irish missed three straight 3-point attempts on the same possession. But after the Irish blocked a layup attempt by Shurna, Abromaitis worked free for a layup and Northwestern's lead was down to 58-56 with 2:18 remaining.

But Marcotullio, who finished with 13 points, connected again from beyond the arc to rescue the Wildcats.

Northwestern led 30-27 at the half.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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