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(Saturday, January 14th)
Final Score: Northwestern 81, (6) Michigan State 74
Evanston, IL (Sports Network) - John Shurna scored 22 points and Drew Crawford had 20, as Northwestern halted sixth-ranked Michigan State's 15-game win streak with an 81-74 victory on Saturday.
Davide Curletti added 17 points and Reggie Hearn finished with 10 for the Wildcats (12-5, 2-3 Big Ten), who put the brakes on a two-game skid.
Keith Appling had a team-high 17 points in defeat and Draymond Green finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Spartans (15-3, 4-1). They had not lost since beginning the season with back-to-back defeats against North Carolina and Duke.
"They deserved to win the game, we didn't," said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. "It's disappointing because I thought we practiced well, and prepared well. I just think that's life in the Big Ten, anybody can beat anybody. That was a very good team that beat us, and a very good team that's lost to a couple other people."
The Wildcats were coming off a pair of excruciating defeats. They fell 57-56 to Illinois on January 4 before Wednesday's two-point overtime setback at Michigan.
"I'm just really happy for our guys and proud of them because we've had two agonizing losses," said Northwestern coach Bill Carmody. "It was two possessions from being 3-1, and you're 1-3 (in the Big Ten) so that makes it rough."
On Saturday, they led 39-37 at the half and increased the advantage to 10 on Dave Sobolewski's foul shot with 10:40 remaining. But Michigan State refused to go quietly, making a late charge and threatening to perpetuate a developing Wildcats trend.
Travis Trice and Appling combined for seven straight points to cut the Spartans' deficit to five with 5:37 left. This time, though, Northwestern ensured itself a comfortable victory, as Shurna and Sobolewski accounted for all the Wildcats' points during a 7-2 run.
Shurna's deep trey from the top of the key gave the Wildcats 76-66 lead with 3:38 left. The Spartans didn't get closer than nine points until the game's final seconds.
For MSU, the failure came on the defensive end. During their 15-game win streak, the Spartans held opponents to 58.1 points on 36.4 percent shooting. But Northwestern shot an even 50 percent from the floor on Saturday.
The Spartans suffered their first road loss of the season (4-1), while Northwestern improved to 8-2 at home...The 15-game Michigan State win streak was the team's longest since it won 22 straight during the 1998-99 season...The Spartans lead the all-time series with the Wildcats, 81-38.
01/14 20:09:22 ET
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