Northwestern Wildcats bitten again, Nebraska wins

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Associated Press
Thursday, January 12, 2012
— For a second straight game, Northwestern fell agonizingly short of a crucial Big Ten victory.

With the Wildcats trailing by three, Alex Marcotullio was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds remaining, but he missed the first of three free throws and No. 13 Michigan held on for a 66-64 overtime win Wednesday night. Northwestern is trying to make the NCAA tournament for the first time, but the Wildcats lost by a point to Illinois last week and couldn’t hold onto a 10-point second-half lead against the Wolverines.

It’s close calls like these that could come back to haunt Northwestern down the road.

“Losses like this hurt,” forward Drew Crawford said. “We knew these were big games, and we know we could have won both of them, but we didn’t get either of them.”

Freshman Trey Burke scored 19 points—including Michigan’s last eight of overtime. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 19 as well, although it was his foul that put Marcotullio on the line.

Marcotullio hadn’t attempted a shot all night and had only six free throw tries on the season. After missing the first, he made the second and had to intentionally miss the third. The Wildcats were unable to tip in the rebound.

John Shurna had 21 points for Northwestern and Crawford added 20.

“This is really tough, especially after Illinois,” Crawford said.

-- Nebraska 70, Penn State 58—It’s almost certain that neither Penn State-Nebraska matchup this season will have a bearing on the Big Ten race.

But Wednesday night’s 70-58 victory meant everything to the struggling Cornhuskers, who had lost their first four Big Ten games and been embarrassed in three of them.

“It’s kind of tough to lose four straight and stay as confident as you would like,” Nebraska guard Bo Spencer said. “I think we’ve got a lot of confidence. If any of it was gone, we got it back tonight.”

Spencer scored 19 points to lead four Nebraska players in double figures.

as the Huskers spoiled a splendid performance by Tim Frazier. The Penn State guard scored a career-high 30 points for his conference-leading eighth 20-point game.

Toney McCray added 13 points and Caleb Walker and Dylan Talley scored 12 apiece for the Huskers (9-7, 1-4).

Nebraska, in its first season in the Big Ten after moving from the Big 12, avoided its second 0-5 conference start in three years.

“There was a lot of pressure on the kids to get that one out of the way, and it was hard,” coach Doc Sadler said.

Penn State (9-1, 1-4), picked to finish last in the Big Ten, came into the game off an 88-82 loss to No. 12 Indiana that wasn’t decided until the final minute and a 20-point win over Purdue.

Those impressive performances were a distant memory for a PSU team that shot 33 percent from the floor and couldn’t overcome a miserable start.

Last updated: 2:21 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

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