“We’ve been practicing hard the past few days and really tried to stress defense,” Wildcats coach Bill Carmody said. | Kiichiro Sato~AP
Updated: January 11, 2013 12:24AM
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Northwestern sharpened its shooting touch and ratcheted up its defensive intensity. The result was a 70-54 victory against Penn State on Thursday night.
“We’ve been practicing hard the past few days and really tried to stress defense,” Wildcats coach Bill Carmody said. “We haven’t really been shooting the ball very well, and we kind of just tried to ignore it, not put a lot of heat on these guys.”
The Wildcats (10-6, 1-2 Big Ten) used a 25-4 run over an 11-minute span to lead 33-16 in the first half. Penn State (8-7, 0-3) didn’t score a basket for nearly seven minutes during that stretch.
Dave Sobolewski had 18 points and Jared Swopshire 17 to pace the winners, whose shooters maintained their touch after the break, going 5-for-10 from three-point range.
“We just tried to again stress the defense, just don’t give them good shots,” Carmody said of his message at halftime.
The Wildcats put four in double figures. Reggie Hearn scored 14 and Abrahamson 10.
“We try to do that in our offense,” said Carmody. “Usually the cream rises to the top over the course of a bunch of games, but I was happy to see ... any coach is happy to see ... balanced scoring.”