EVANSTON, Ill.-Dave Sobolewski's 3-pointer with 1:45 remaining gave Northwestern the lead for good as the Wildcats ended the game on a 12-0 run to defeat Texas State 74-68 Monday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Things didn't look good for NU when Corey Stern scored on a dunk with 3:31 remaining, giving the Bobcats a 68-62 lead. However, Stern was given a technical foul for hanging on the rim on the play.
Jared Swopshire hit one of two ensuing free throws before Reggie Hearn made a pair from the charity stripe to get the Wildcats within three. After Mike Turner came up with a steal on the other end, Sobolewski was fouled and made two from the line to get Northwestern within 68-67.
The Wildcats' switch to the 1-3-1 defense keyed the run as Texas State missed a jumper and Sobolewski drilled a triple from the wing that put the hosts in front to stay.
Another turnover was followed by a foul of Alex Marcotullio and the senior made both of his free throws to extend the lead to three. The `Cats were able to do enough from the foul line down the stretch to seal the win as the defense came up with seven consecutive stops to end the game.
Sobolewski paced NU with 18 points, while Hearn (15), Tre Demps (12) and Swopshire (10) joined him in double figures. Freshman Alex Olah added eight points to go along with a career-high seven assists.
Inserted into the starting lineup in place of the injured Drew Crawford, freshman Kale Abrahamson started the game's scoring with a 3-point from the wing. NU's lead was 8-4 before a 7-0 run gave the Bobcats an 11-8 advantage.
Northwestern's deficit was 14-12 when Demps ignited a 14-4 run that gave the 'Cats a 26-18 edge. Coming off a career-best 15-point performance against Butler on Dec. 8, Demps knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers during the surge.
However, the Bobcats were able to get back into the game by getting to the free throw line. Texas State made 10 of its 12 attempts from the charity stripe over the opening 20 minutes of play, while the Wildcats made just one of two.
Phil Hawkins' basket in the closing seconds gave the visitors a 39-37 lead at the break, but it was Joel Wright (15) and Wesley Davis (12) who combined for 27 of the team's points in the opening stanza.
A free throw by Demps with 10:43 left put Northwestern in front 60-56, but Texas State went on a 10-2 run over the next seven-plus minutes to take a six-point lead on Stern's dunk. However, the technical foul turned the game in the Wildcats' favor.
Northwestern returns to action at 8 p.m. Friday as it hosts Stanford at Welsh-Ryan Arena.