EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Drew Crawford hopes an ugly trend of losing close games changed on Thursday night.
John Shurna scored 28 points and Crawford added 21 to lead Northwestern to an 84-74 win over Nebraska.
Northwestern (13-8, 3-6 Big Ten) dominated the game behind the arc, making 14 3-pointers to end a three-game losing streak.
After Brandon Richardson's steal and layup cut Northwestern's lead to 54-53 with 10:36 left, Northwestern responded with nine unanswered points on three straight 3-pointers by Crawford, Shurna and Reggie Hearn.
Northwestern finally closed out a game after losing three of its Big Ten games by a combined five points, including a two-point home loss to Purdue on Saturday.
"It felt really good to get this win, especially considering that we had some tough games this season (when) we weren't able to close out the game. I think it was real important for us to show ourselves that we can finish games like this and come out with a victory, so hopefully this will get us on a roll," said Crawford.
It appeared Northwestern had control of the game with under three minutes to play and a 75-66 lead, but Dylan Talley hit a 3-pointer and Spencer made another to get the Cornhuskers within 75-72 with 1:34 left. Shurna answered with a driving layup and Dave Sobolewski made three free throws in the final minute to secure the win.
"I think that really showed that we were able to handle adversity, because in basketball it's always a game of runs," said Crawford. "They were knocking down shots and we were able to stay composed and get through it and continue to run our offense and play tough defense that got us back in the game."
Bo Spencer led Nebraska (11-10, 3-7) with 24 points and Toney McCray finished with 16.
"We didn't defend nobody," said Nebraska coach Doc Sadler. "We did not guard the ball screens correctly, and give them credit, they attacked it."
The Cornhuskers cut into the Wildcats' 15-point halftime lead. Early in the second half, McCray had a 3-pointer and Spencer got Nebraska within 42-38 after two free throws and another 3.
Nebraska, making its first appearance in Evanston as a member of the Big Ten, was hit with a barrage of 3-pointers from coach Bill Carmody's small lineup. Carmody didn't go to his bench much, playing only a six-man lineup for most of the game.
"They are 19, 20 and 21, you got timeouts every four minutes, and with the game being on ESPN2 it's probably a longer time now, so it's OK — they have to be able to do it," said Carmody.
Leading 33-25, Northwestern closed the first half on an 8-1 run. Crawford hit a 3-pointer, Hearn made a pair of free throws and Sobolewski made all three foul shots after being fouled on a 3-point attempt with two-tenths of a second left in the half. That made it 41-26 at halftime.
Shurna led the Wildcats with 13 points in the first half, including three 3-pointers. As a team, the Wildcats connected on 10 of 21 3-point attempts against the Nebraska man-to-man defense.
"We got caught going underneath them and we wanted to chase them," said Sadler. "You're not going to go on the road and give up 84 points and beat anybody. I mean Nebraska is not."
Sobolewski finished with 15 points for the Wildcats.