Northwestern 81, No. 6 Michigan St. 74

John Shurna scored 22 points and Northwestern beat No. 6

Michigan State 81-74 on Saturday, ending the Spartans’ 15-game

winning streak

Drew Crawford added 20 points and Davide Curletti, making his

first start of the season, had a season-high 17 for the Wildcats

(12-5, 2-3 Big Ten), who rebounded from a tough overtime loss at

Michigan three days ago.

Michigan State (15-3, 4-1) lost for the first time since it was

beaten by Duke in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15.

Keith Appling led the Spartans with 17 points and Draymond Green

had 14 points and 14 rebounds. Michigan State shot 65 percent in

the first half and then went cold in the second 20 minutes against

Northwestern’s zone.

The loss was just the fourth in 30 games against Northwestern

for Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and left him two shy of 400

career victories.

Northwestern fans stormed the court after the victory, perhaps a

pivotal one for the Wildcats as they shoot for the first NCAA

tournament berth in school history.

Crawford hit a jumper and then made a 3-pointer as Northwestern

extended its lead to six points 5 minutes into the second half as

the Spartans missed five straight shots.

Even after playing good defense, the Spartans had trouble

controlling Northwestern.

Shurna put up a wild shot to beat the shot clock but teammate

Reggie Hearn sailed through the lane and followed it up. Then

Curletti broke for the basket on a back door play and dunked to

give the Wildcats a seven-point lead with just over 12 minutes


After such a torrid shooting first half, the Spartans missed 12

of their first 15 field goal attempts in the second. Shurna broke

free for a layup and minutes later had a dunk as Northwestern

increased the lead to 12 with 8:32 left.

State rallied with a 7-0 run started by Travis Trice’s 3-pointer

and cut the lead to 69-64 with 5:32 left. But Dave Sobolewski hit

two free throws and Shurna made another 3-pointer from the top of

the key and the lead was back to 10.

Michigan State made nine of its first 10 field goal attempts,

including 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Green hit three straight early

3-pointers and the Spartans led by as many as nine, having little

trouble with Northwestern’s defense early.

But the second half was a turnaround. The Spartans shot 34.4

percent (11 for 32) in the final 20 minutes and were only 4 for 11

on 3-pointers.