EVANSTON—John Shurna scored a career-high 29 points as Northwestern defeated Central Connecticut State 74-54 Tuesday night for its ninth straight victory and its best start in 79 years.The last time the Wildcats (10-1) won 10 of their first 11 games was also the last time they won an outright Big Ten championship – 1930-31. The winning streak is their longest since they went 9-0 to open the 1993-94 season, and they then lost their first nine conference games.NU, which hasn’t finished as high as fourth place or had a winning record in the Big Ten since 1968, starts conference play Dec. 30 at Illinois.Drew Crawford scored 15 and Michael Thompson 14 for the Wildcats.Robby Ptacek scored 22 points for Central Connecticut State (3-6), which has played only one home game.
NORMAL—Osiris Eldridge scored a season-high 23 points Tuesday night to help Illinois State defeat Grambling State, 80-56.Jackie Carmichael matched his career-best performance with 16 points for the Redbirds (9-2), and Dinma Odiakosa had 14 points and 11 rebounds. ISU held a 43-27 rebounding edge over the Tigers.Eldridge had 18 of his points in the first half, when Illinois State built a 39-28 lead. The Redbirds then scored the first seven points of the second half and kept the lead in double figures for the remainder of the game.
FORT MYERS—Reggie Chambers scored 20 points as Florida Gulf Coast defeated DePaul 64-61 on Tuesday night.Reed Baker added 12 points and Anthony Banks added 11 for the Eagles (4-6). Mac Koshwal had 16 points for DePaul (7-5) while Jeremiah Kelly added 12 and Will Walker 11.Florida Gulf Coast built a 27-19 lead in the first half after a Chambers 3-pointer and led 30-25 at halftime.Baker hit 3-pointers to keep the Eagles up by double figures, 38-26 and 42-31. A rebound basket by Anthony Banks put Florida Gulf Coast back up by 12 at 46-34.DePaul cut the deficit to 62-61 on Koshwal’s rebound layup, but Derrick O’Neil responded with a rebound layup with 25.6 seconds left.The Blue Demons had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but Walker’s 3-pointer didn’t draw iron.
Ben Averkamp scored 17 points and Geoff McCammon added 16 to lead Loyola to a 68-56 victory against Albany on Tuesday night.Terrance Hill added 13 points for Loyola (9-2), which won its fifth straight. Averkamp had nine rebounds.Fran Urli led Albany (4-9) with 12 points.The Ramblers never trailed, scoring the first seven points and maintaining a double-digit cushion for much of the game.
AKRON—Brett McKnight scored 16 points and Jimmy Conyers grabbed 19 rebounds to help power Akron to its fourth straight victory, 77-65 over UIC on Tuesday night.Conyers also scored 10 points while helping the Zips (8-3) pile up a 38-23 advantage on the boards and outscore the Flames (3-7) 34-24 in the paint.Akron led throughout the second half after taking a 36-27 halftime lead with a 13-3 run over the final 5:14. The Zips outshot the Flames in the second half 53.8 percent (14-for-26) to 40.6 percent (13-for-32) while building their lead to as much as 15 points.Darryl Roberts added 13 points for Akron, which has won eight of its last nine games, and Chris McKnight had 10 off the bench. The Zips’ reserves outscored their UIC counterparts 26-14.Zavion Neely scored 16 points to pace the Flames and Robo Kreps added 13.
SOUTH BEND—Luke Harangody had 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists to pace Notre Dame to an easy 101-69 victory over Bucknell on Tuesday night.Ben Hansbrough added 16 points and five assists for the Fighting Irish (11-2), and Tim Abromaitis had 15 points. The Irish dominated from the start, hitting their first five shots to open a 15-4 lead while the Bison were just 2 of 12 from the floor. By the time the Irish missed their first 2-point shot, a jumper inside by Abromaitis, they were ahead 29-12.In the first half, the Irish made nine 3-pointers and shot 63 percent while the Bison shot just 24 percent. Notre Dame led 49-22 at halftime.
LAS VEGAS—Kabangu Kasamba and Damian Windham each scored 11 points to lead Chicago State over Eastern Washington 62-53 in the third round of the Las Vegas Classic on Tuesday night.Both players were 4 of 6 from the field for Chicago State (4-7), which won its first game against a Division I school this year.Jeffery Forbes led Eastern Washington (4-8) with 13 points and five steals. Mark Dunn had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Eagles, who shot 15 of 54 (28 percent) from the field.The Cougars were 22 of 48 (46 percent) from the field. They never trailed and built a 34-20 halftime lead.
CHARLESTON—Eastern Illinois scored the game’s first 12 points and never looked back Tuesday night in routing Franklin College 100-40.Tyler Laser scored 15 points to lead the Panthers (7-4). Jay Smith had 14, and James Hollowell and Curry McKinney had 12 apiece. EIU’ last 100-point game was on Feb. 27, 2001.Eastern Illinois led 47-20 at halftime. The Panthers enjoyed a 45-31 advantage on the glass, with Hollowell’s nine rebounds leading the team, and shot 58 percent from the floor in the game while holding the Grizzlies to 31 percent. All 12 Panthers who played scored.Franklin (4-7), is a Division III school.
MACOMB—James Granstra and Ceola Clark teamed up to lead Western Illinois to a 55-44 victory over Central Arkansas on Tuesday night.Granstra was the only double-figure scorer for the Leathernecks (5-6), finishing with 14 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots. Clark scored nine points and had game highs of 11 rebounds and six assists.David Nurse added nine points for Western Illinois.