Northwestern tops Fairleigh Dickinson 80-53


EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) -- Reggie Hearn is used to teammate Drew Crawford receiving most of the attention, but Hearn stole the spotlight Sunday with his team-high 14 points in Northwestern's 80-53 win against Fairleigh Dickinson.

Hearn, a senior fresh off a 23-point game against Mississippi Valley State, wasn't afraid to shoot whenever he got the ball. He beat his Knights defender in almost every possible way on the court. He knocked down back-to-back 3s to open the game, giving the Wildcats (3-0) a quick 6-0 lead, and added a back-door cut for a layup to push Northwestern's lead to double digits.

Hearn also backed down a Knights player in the low post before turning around a netting a jumper. Hearn was 4 for 5 from the field and 4 for 4 at the free-throw line in 19 minutes.

Although Hearn sparked the offense in the first half, he had plenty of help from his teammates. Kale Abrahamson scored nine points off the bench, part of a unit that combined for 36 points. Northwestern recorded 24 assists on its 33 baskets highlighting the Wildcats' unselfish play as 11 players notched at least one assist.

Fairleigh Dickinson's inability to convert in the paint prevented the Knights (0-2) from staying in the game early. They missed six layups in the first half alone, allowing Northwestern to quickly take command in the first meeting between the schools.

For the second time in three games, Northwestern held its opponent to 14 points in the first half, a feat it previously had not accomplished since December 2008. The Wildcats led Sunday by as many as 36 points. Coach Bill Carmody has credited his assistant coaches for the Wildcats' dominant first-half defensive performances.

Eleven different players scored for the Wildcats, who shot 49 percent from the field. Northwestern's big men dominated Fairleigh Dickinson in the post, outscoring them 36-16 in the paint. Crawford struggled from the field, making just 4 of 13 shots and failing to make a 3-pointer in three attempts. He finished with eight points.

Northwestern didn't escape Sunday injury free. Forward Nikola Cerina suffered a right ankle injury with 5:49 remaining and had to be helped off the court. He had provided a spark off the bench and finished with five points and seven rebounds in 10 minutes of action.