Evanston, Ill. – Northwestern utilized a late second half surge and senior guard Drew Crawford registered a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Wildcats to a 58-52 win over Brown Sunday afternoon at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The loss drops the Bears to 6-4 overall, while Northwestern improves to 7-5 overall, including a 6-1 home record.
The game was a homecoming for Brown senior guard Sean McGonagill, who grew up in nearby Brookfield, Ill. and starred at Riverside-Brookfield High School. McGonagill, the Ivy League's top scorer, led the Bears with 16 points, including 12 first half points.
Brown sophomore forward Cedric Kuakumensah also scored in double figures, netting 10 points, while pulling down six rebounds. Junior forward Rafael Maia scored just six points, but grabbed a team high 11 rebounds. Freshman Steven Spieth contributed on the boards for the Bears, pulling down a career high nine rebounds.
The Bears struggled from the free throw line once again, connecting on 47-percent (9-19) from the line. Northwestern connected on 10-of-15 free throws (66-percent).
Crawford's 24 points came on 8-of-17 shooting from the field. Kale Abrahamson scored 11 points for the Wildcats, while 7-0 center Alex Olah chipped in with 10 points.
Brown held a 27-25 lead at the half, but Northwestern battled back to take its first lead, 41-39, on a lay-up by Olah with 10:45 left in the game. A lay-up by Bears' forward Leland King tied the game, 41-41, but Olah connected on a long trey with 8:34 remaining to put the Wildcats up by three points, 44-41.
Brown battled back and trailed by just two points, 51-49, on a tip-in by Maia with 1:58 remaining. Abrahamson's lay-up with 58 seconds remaining put the Wildcats in control, 53-49.
Brown grabbed an early 17-13 lead with 10:41 left in the first half on a trey by McGonagill. The Bears later extended their lead to seven points, 23-16, on a lay-up by Maia at the 8:08 mark of the opening half.
The stands were packed with a large contingent of Brown supporters, who live around the Chicago area, including former basketball standouts Matt Sullivan '13, Peter Sullivan '11, Tyler Ponticelli '13, Stephen Albrecht '13, Mike Waitkus '86, Todd Murray '86, Marques Coleman '12. Over 125 Brown alumni and friends attended a pre-game reception held at the adjacent football Stadium, Ryan Field.
Brown will travel to Niagara, New York, on December 29, for a matinee match-up against the Niagara Purple Eagles. Tip-off is 2:00 pm.