Cats go dry in the desert in second half, lose to Mizzou 78-67

LAS VEGAS—Northwestern couldĀ  not take theior first half momentum into the second stanza, and a huge dry spell early in the second half doomed the Wildcats against Missouri’s in the Las Vegas Invitational. Johnathan Williams and Ryan Rosburg, two of four Tigers scored in double figures in a 78-67 win over NU in the tournament’s opening round.Jordan Clarkson scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half to lead Missouri, while Williams and Rosburg each had 14.The Tigers, who outscored Northwestern in the paint 40-14, scored the first 14 points of the second half to erase a five-point halftime deficit and take a 48-39 lead at the 15:10 mark and never looked back.After Northwestern’s second-half drought was ended by JerShon Cobb, who scored a game-high 22 points, the Tigers extended their lead to 13, when Brown hit a 3-pointer to give them a 54-41 advantage. The 6-foot-5 junior guard wasn’t finished, as he scored five of his team’s next 10 points and dished a nifty backward pass to Clarkson, who finished with a one-handed slam dunk that exemplified the Tigers’ transition game.Missouri (6-0), which went from shooting 0-for-7 from the 3-point line in the first 20 minutes to shooting 4-of-7 in the second half, held Northwestern to just 36.4 percent shooting in the second half, compared with the Wildcats’ 50 percent shooting from the field in the first half.There were six ties and six lead changes in the first half, and the Wildcats connected on 6 of 13 jumpers from 3-point range. Cobb led the charge early, shooting 4 for 6 from the field (3-of-5 from 3-point range) en route to 16 points in the first half. After falling behind 19-13 midway through the first half, Northwestern went on a 26-15 run to take a 39-34 halftime lead.But it was Missouri’s defensive intensity in the second half that thwarted every effort by Northwestern, which missed its first six shots after halftime.Tre Demps and Nathan Taphorn each scored 11 for Northwestern (4-3).Missouri, which won by double digits for the fifth time this season, is now 13-4 on a neutral court under Haith. Since 2011, the Tigers are 17-1 in the month of November, and dating back to 2006 have won 44 of their 50 games in the month.The Tigers, who played on Thanksgiving Day for the second consecutive year, face Nevada on Friday, while Northwestern (4-3) will play No. 19 UCLA.

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