NU stuns #23 Irish in Chicago Classic, face Iowa State for Title

It’s been 25 years since Northwestern and Notre Dame have met in mens hoops,and for the Wildcats,its been worth the wait.The Cats used a tough zone defense which the Irish had trouble with all night and they controled the tempo on ND enough and pulled away late for a 72-58 upset in the 4th annual Chicago Invitational Challenge at the UIC Pavlion.With key starters Kevin Cobel and Jeff Ryan both gone for the season with injuries,the Cats had several pick up the slack. John Shurna scored a career-high 25 points and Alex Marcotullio nailed two key 3-pointers as the Wildcats upset No. 23 Notre Dame. Juice Thompson added 20 points. ND All-Americn Luke Harangody tried to keep his team in it as he was double and triple teamed all night,yet he led the Irish with 21. NU held Notre Dame to 32 percent for the game and guard Ben Hansbrough was 1 for 10 and 0 for 7 on 3-point attempts. He entered the game shooting 59 percent from the floor and 67 percent from behind the arc. Hansbrough’s brother Tyler was the National Player of the year for North Carolina last year. Northwestern built a 12-point lead in the second half before the Irish (5-1) rallied. They were within one when Marcotullio sank a 3-pointer. When Notre Dame chopped it to 58-56, Marcotullio hit another 3-pointer with two minutes left. Marcotullio finished with 13 points for the Wildcats.NU led 30-27 at the half.Northwestern (4-1) will play Iowa State in the Championship Saturday night,also at UIC. The Cyclones (6-0) beat Saint Louis 65-54 on Friday night.

NOTES—This was the first meeting between NU & ND in the City limits of Chicago since they met at Chiago Stadium in 1970-71….The last neutral court game between the two teams was March 17,1983 in the first round of the NIT which NU won at the Rosemont Horizon in John Paxsons final game for the Irish…..In the consolation braket during the afternoon, Liberty defeated Mississippi Valley State 72-53 and Tennessee State beat Kennesaw State 73-67.Liberty became the second team named ‘Flames to play in the home of the UIC Flames…..Previous Chicago Classic Champs were Illinois,Xavier,and Dayton with the first three tourneys held at Sears Centre in Hoffan Estates.