Northwestern puts up good fight but falls to Stanford
By NEIL HAYES email@example.com December 21, 2012 11:23PM
Stanford’s Aaron Bright tries to split the defense of NU’s Alex Olah (left) and Reggie Hearn in the first half. | AP
Updated: December 21, 2012 11:51PM
Northwestern was seeking an identity, a rhythm and momentum in its second game without injured forward Drew Crawford.
What the Wildcats found wasn’t enough to earn a victory, but coach Bill Carmody saw his team make strides in all three areas before falling to Stanford 70-68 on Friday at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
NU (8-4) trailed by 18 points in the first half but pulled even when a runner by Tre Demps made it 61-all with 6:33 left. Demps knotted the score again with a three-pointer with 1:49 left, but he missed a runner with six seconds left, enabling the Cardinal (9-3) to escape.
Still, the Wildcats played as well as they have since winning at Baylor on Dec. 4.
‘‘Me and Reggie [Hearn] and Dave [Sobolewski] brought everyone together and said, ‘We have to step up and play harder,’ ’’ NU guard Alex Marcotullio said. ‘‘They were beating us to loose balls. Those words were encouraging to everyone. It spread throughout the team, and we started coming up with loose balls.’’
Alex Olah gave the Wildcats a needed low-post presence. Hearn and Demps took over at times, which they must do with Crawford out for the rest of the season with a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Marcotullio brought energy and
offense off the bench.
Demps became NU’s primary
offensive threat after Hearn hurt his right leg with 17:17 left. Carmody didn’t know the severity of Hearn’s injury or whether he had hurt his knee or ankle.
Hearn finished with 18 points and seven rebounds. Olah added 16 points, Demps 12 — all in the second half — and Marcotullio 10. Josh Huestis had 18 points and 12 rebounds for Stanford.
‘‘I just tried to get in the lane and penetrate, maybe find somebody,’’ Demps said of his potential tying shot in the final seconds. ‘‘I knew things were getting mixed up a little bit. I knew the switch was coming my way and I knew I could get past [the Cardinal’s] Dwight Powell, but the shot didn’t fall.’’
Stanford entered the game ranked 332nd out of 347 Division I teams in three-point field-goal percentage, but it made six of its first seven three-pointers and 11-for-24 overall.
Carmody switched to a 1-3-1 zone with the Cardinal’s lead ballooning in the first half, and the steals, lay-
ups and dunks it produced fueled the Wildcats’ offense. NU scored 17 consecutive points late in the half and trailed only 35-31 at the break.