UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-A 25-6 first-half run spanning over 11 minutes lifted Northwestern to a 70-54 victory over Penn State at Bryce Jordan Center Thursday evening.
Dave Sobolewski led four Wildcats in double figures with 18 points. Jared Swopshire added 17 points while Reggie Hearn had 14 points and Kale Abrahamson contributed 10.
Swopshire carried the scoring load for the Wildcats early, scoring nine points over the opening 10 minutes of play. A 10-2 Penn State run gave the hosts a 12-8 lead eight minutes into the contest, but that's when NU took charge.
Back-to-back baskets by Sobolewski preceded a 3-pointer from the right wing by Swopshire that gave the 'Cats a 15-12 advantage. After Tre Demps' basket beat the shot clock, Sobolewski made one from the free throw and then hit a trey from the top of the key to make it 21-12.
Ross Travis finally ended the Wildcats' 13-point run with a jumper at the 5:45 mark. Penn State was within 23-16 with 4:29 to go in the period, but Reggie Hearn scored seven straight points followed by a Abrahamson triple that gave Northwestern a 33-16 advantage and capped a 25-6 surge that spanned 11 minutes and 14 seconds.
NU took a 33-18 advantage into the break after holding PSU to 8-of-26 shooting (30.8 percent).
Early second-half 3-pointers by Sobolewski and Abrahamson stretched Northwestern's lead to 41-20.
The Nittany Lions cut into the deficit by going on a 9-1 run, but Demps' triple from the right wing ignited a nine-point run by the Wildcats that pushed the lead back up to 56-33 with eight minutes left.
Penn State was unable to get closer than 16 points the rest of the way as the Wildcats picked up their first Big Ten win of the season.
NU held the Nittany Lions to 31.6 percent shooting (18-57) in the contest while shooting 45.8 percent (22-48) itself. The 'Cats committed only seven turnovers in the contest.
Northwestern returns to action at 4:30 p.m. Sunday as it hosts Iowa at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Tickets are available at NUsports.com/tickets or by calling 888-GO-PURPLE.