Northwestern tops Iowa State in title game -

Northwestern tops Iowa State in title game

CHICAGO (AP) -- John Shurna scored 23 points and Michael Thompson added 16 as Northwestern defeated Iowa State 67-65 Saturday night in the championship game of the Chicago Invitational Tournament.

Shurna, a sophomore, outperformed preseason All-American candidate Craig Brackins and Notre Dame's Luke Harangody to win the invitational's MVP award.

Craig Brackins and Lucca Staiger each had 18 points for Iowa State (6-1).

Northwestern (5-1) went on an 11-3 run early in the second half to erase a 48-40 deficit. Shurna had back-to-back baskets in the span and Thompson made a 3 to tie the score at 51 with 10:53 left.

The Wildcats built a 63-56 lead on Thompson's layup with 3:09 left. But the Cyclones scored five straight points on a basket by Brackins and a 3 from Staiger to get within 63-61 with 1:34 remaining.

Jeremy Nash made a pair of free throws to extend the Northwestern lead to 65-61 with 21.3 seconds left. Iowa State's last real chance came when Brackins made the first of two free throws to get within 65-62. He missed the second, but Iowa State retained possession after the ball bounced out after hitting Shurna's foot.

Jamie Vanderbeken missed a 3-pointer to tie it with five seconds left, and Iowa State missed a long desperation shot as time expired.

Shurna, who had 25 points in Friday's upset win over No. 23 Notre Dame, had 17 points in the first 12 minutes against Iowa State and was involved in the Wildcats' first 11 points scored. He had 17 points and two assists in the first half on 6-of-11 shooting.

Staiger had 12 of his points in the first half, all coming on 3-pointers, as Iowa State led 39-34 at the break.

Marquis Gilstrap finished with 13 points and six rebounds for Iowa State, and Vanderbeken had 12.

The game was played in front of a pro-Iowa State fan base, despite Northwestern's close proximity to the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, where the game was played.

Northwestern hasn't beat missed a beat this season -- losing only to Butler -- despite missing two key players. Last year's leading scorer, Kevin Coble, is out for the season with a foot injury, and forward Jeff Ryan was also lost for the season after tearing his ACL in the first game of the season against Northern Illinois.

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


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