Crawford nets 26 as Northwestern tops MVSU 86-64 - FOX 32 News Chicago

Crawford nets 26 as Northwestern tops MVSU 86-64

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Associated Press

   EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Northwestern didn't need JerShon Cobb to find its range. Drew Crawford made sure of that.
   Crawford scored a season-high 26 points and the Wildcats beat Mississippi Valley State 86-64 Monday night. Crawford added 10 rebounds and moved up to seventh in school history in points, passing Kevin Rankin (1,575), and also set a season-high for the Wildcats, who had one of their best shooting nights of the season.
   Northwestern entered play Monday shooting 41.8 percent, but made 29 of 54 shots (53.7 percent), while holding Mississippi Valley State to 36.2 percent.
   "I think the biggest thing we have to do is play offense as a team, and that doesn't necessarily have to be me scoring," Crawford said.
   Alex Olah and Tre Demps scored 18 and Sanjay Lumpkin had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Northwestern (6-5), which was playing without Cobb. The Wildcats' second-leading scorer at 13.6 points per game, Cobb was in a walking boot and didn't play because of a sprained left ankle he suffered during practice Thursday. He is day-to-day and might be able to play Sunday against Brown.
   With Cobb on the sidelines, Crawford stepped up, making nine of his 15 shots and also handing out a team-high five assists and blocking two shots.
   "I thought Drew Crawford was just a star tonight," Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. "With JerShon being out, he took on the challenge. He led us in every way. I thought he got every big rebound when we needed it, made his free throws, played a great game."
   Mississippi Valley State coach Chico Potts recognized that, and pointed to a play with 2:16 remaining in the game when Crawford dove to the floor to secure a rebound, even though Northwestern was leading by 18.
   "He sacrificed his body and landed on his back for that ball and got a timeout," Potts said. "I had to congratulate him right then. I wasn't going to wait to do that."
   Northwestern had to wait a while for this victory.
   The Wildcats were playing their first game after an eight-day break for final exams, and won their second straight following a 51-35 victory last Sunday over Western Michigan. They have another six-day break until Sunday.
   Before the two wins, the Wildcats lost three in a row to Missouri, UCLA, and North Carolina State. On Monday, Northwestern wasn't challenged, as it won at least two games in a row for the second time in Collins' first year as coach.
   Collins, however, was wary of the encounter, mentioning MVSU's strong non-conference schedule.
   "It's an early game (6 p.m.) on a Monday, finals are done, it's a snowstorm outside," Collins said. "For college kids those are a lot of distractions that can set you back from what you want to try to do in a game."
   The Wildcats weren't set back much.
   Crawford's 3-pointer with five seconds left in the first half gave NU a 44-31 lead, but MVSU ended the period when DeAngelo Prior's desperation heave from just beyond half court banked in, cutting Northwestern's lead to 10.
   The Wildcats then stayed in control during the second half, with their lead never dipping below nine.
   "I think that's the most important thing because you can't let up," Crawford said. "These teams are capable of going on big runs and that's the biggest thing -- you've got to make sure you don't let up."
   Mississippi Valley State (3-7) was led by James Currington's 14 points and 13 rebounds. Cameron Dobbs also had 12 for the Delta Devils, who were playing just their second game in a 17-day span and had a two-game winning streak snapped. Before beating Tougaloo College 89-81 on Dec. 7, MVSU's previous game was Nov. 30 when it topped Longwood 90-89 for its only win against Division I competition.
   The Delta Devils' struggled against teams from power conferences also continued on Monday. MVSU has fallen by 55 points to Oklahoma State, 24 to Texas A&M, 22 to Mississippi State, 29 to Ole Miss, and 17 to Georgia Tech.
   "It's tough. We've played against some good teams but it will get us ready for the SWAC conference," Currington said. "It gets us ready."

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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