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.
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.
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Forward Kennedy Meeks, who has averaged 9.4 points and 6.5 rebounds at North Carolina, has pulled out of the NBA draft and will return to the Tar Heels.
Cal big man Ivan Rabb could have been selected in the top 10 of the NBA draft. Instead, he's returning to Berkeley to make himself, and the Golden Bears, stronger.
Devin Williams' decision last month to sign with an agent and enter the NBA draft has left West Virginia in a tough spot.