John Shurna scores 31 as Northwestern tops NIU

DEKALB, Ill. -- John Shurna matched a career-high with 31 points as Northwestern shook off a sluggish early shooting to roll past Northern Illinois 97-78 in a season opener for both teams Friday.

The Huskies led 11-5 after five minutes while the Wildcats missed 13 of their first 14 shots. But guard Drew Crawford ignited Northwestern with 12 points in a 19-5 run as the Wildcats claimed a 24-16 lead and never looked back.

Shurna, who scored 31 points twice last season, had seven three-pointers and scored 25 second-half points. Crawford closed with 20 while Michael Thompson had 15. Xavier Silas led the Huskies with 25 points, Tim Toler had 12 and Nate Rucker added 11.