The basketball season finally starts for real. That's the good news. The bad news: the game isn't on TV. I'm putting the game thread up early because people are asking me on Twitter where they can watch; the only way to watch it is a webstream, which you can access on NUsports.com by paying $9.95 for something called Wildcats All-Access. Since I'm assuming no one besides me is willing to spend that much money, I will live-blogging the game (assuming the webstream actually works), so check back here throughout the evening. You can also hear the game on WGN radio, 720 AM if you're in Chicago, or on wgnradio.com.
Ok, the live stream is functional, and the quality is surprisingly good, so the live blog is a go, after the jump.
1 minute til game time: Currently seeing a highlight video of great moments in NIU basketball history. It looks impressive I must say. There was even some guy doing a 360 dunk in a game.
Ok, we just met the starting lineups. NIU's biggest guy is 6'7", and he could best be described as round. He makes Iowa's Brennan Cougill look downright svelte. Northwestern going with Juice, Marcotullio, Crawford, Shurna and Mirkovic.
The aforementioned big guy scores on the first two NIU possessions. Has some nice touch. Shurna answers with 2 free throws, 4-2 NIU.
11-5 NIU at the first media timeout. Northwestern playing man to man, and it hasn't looked pretty. The good news is, NIU is very small on the interior, and the 'Cats already have several offensive rebounds. Shots aren't falling for the perimeter though, only field goal a three by Marcotullio.
Man to man lasted less than 5 minutes; Carmody back to the 1-3-1, and it immediately forces 3 straight turnovers, including a breakaway dunk for Crawford. 13-7 NIU.
16-12 NIU at the second media timeout. Mirkovic looks horrendous so far, he's not moving well on defense and got his shot blocked trying to go up in the post. Northwestern clearly has more talent and should take the lead for good shortly, but not a great start to say the least.
Jeff Ryan comes in and makes his presence felt immediately, setting up a Crawford three then confidently knocking down a 15 footer. Timeout NIU, they look lost vs. the 1-3-1.
Offense really clicking now. 26-18 NU after two Curletti free throws. And as I type this, NIU turns it over again. 1-3-1 is completely shutting down their offense.
Mirkovic gets rejected again by a smaller defender. He's making me long for the days of Vince Scott right now.
2 straight terrible NU turnovers lead to 2 NIU baskets. Lead down to 4, Carmody calls timeout. Very sloppy passing vs NIU's 1-2-2 zone.
Ryan confidently buries a three. Would be huge for Northwestern if he's developed an outside shot. A Shurna leaner gives NU a 33-24 lead.
35-31 Northwestern, 3:24 left in the first half. Curletti made a nice turnaround jumper in the post, I'd expect to see more of him and less of Mirkovic the rest of the way, Luka looks lost out there.
Now Curletti banks in a top of the key three, but NIU star Silas answers with a three. 41-38 NU now, NIU starting to figure out the 1-3-1.
Juice abuses an NIU defender to get an easy lay-up at the end of the half. 43-38 Northwestern at intermission. Very sloppy first half, what's most disappointing is that the 'Cats haven't taken advantage of their superior size.
For a halftime show, they've brought out a female rapper who is dropping weak rhymes that somehow involve Northern Illinois. This chick is more annoying than the ones who sing that terrible song on Aquemini. Make it stop.
Shurna buries two threes from the exact same spot in the corner, and NIU quickly calls timeout. 'Cats up 11 now, hopefully they can cruise from here.
Juice picks up his third foul with 18 minutes left, and Carmody keeps him in, interesting. And Luka just turned it over again, dear lord. I've never seen him play this poorly. 51-40 NU.
Shurna taking over, first he flies in for a block on defense, then hits two more threes, one of them from about 28 feet. 59-42 NU, timeout Huskies. Order finally being restored here.
Shurna gets a bloody nose on a drive and has to come out, doesn't look serious though. Nick Fruendt comes in to shoot the free throws and makes 1 of 2. First appearance for Fruendt on the young season.
Fruendt promptly fouls a three point shooter, and is back to the bench in favor of Shurna, who scores immediately. 22 for Shurna, 18 for Crawford.
Shurna chucks up an off-balance, contested three and swishes it. He's 6-6 from the field this half, 5-5 from three, and has 19 points in 8 minutes and 21 seconds. 73-49 Northwestern, let's get the backups some run now.
Curletti draws a charge, and Marcotullio has to clean up the floor with the towel. That's at least the second time he's cleaned the floor rather than some NIU employee as is typical. Weird. Oh, and Shurna hit another NBA range three, although he did finally miss on a contested runner. 80-60 Northwestern, just over 8 minutes to go.
Starters all still in with 6:40 left up 24 points. Get the bench some game experience here please.
Bench finally starting to empty for Northwestern with 4 minutes to go up 91-68. Shurna checks out with a career high 34 points on 7 of 10 from three, and he had 28 points in 15 second half minutes. Quite a performance. Mirkovic also played better in the second half, using his size to get some layups. He has to be a lot better in Big Ten play though.
Last media timeout, still 91-68. Pretty sure NU hasn't scored 100 points under Carmody, we could be witnessing history!
2nd team offense looking very shaky. Doesn't look like they'll get to 100. Shame.
NIU's leading scorer still in, padding his stats in garbage time. Weak. Reggie Hearn got on the board at least, with 2 free throws. 97-78 is the final.