Northwestern 67, Youngstown State 61
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) _ Geno Carlisle, surprisingly benched at the game’s start, scored 25 points Tuesday as injury-depleted Northwestern defeated Youngstown State 67-61 to win its 17th consecutive home opener.
Anthony Hunt scored 16 points for Youngstown State (0-1), which trailed by as many as 16 before pulling to 59-56 with 2 minutes to go. But Northwestern’s Craig Duerksen made two free throws, Youngstown State threw the ball away, and Carlisle hit two foul shots as the Wildcats (1-1) regained control.
Northwestern was without starting forward Joe Harmsen, who is expected to miss up to six weeks with a broken foot. Harmsen, who sustained the injury Sunday in practice, joins fellow freshmen Nate Pomeday (torn knee ligament) and Sean Hanlon (clavicle surgery) on the sidelines. In addition, center Evan Eschmeyer is playing with very sore feet.
Harmsen’s injury made it all the more surprising that coach Ricky Byrdsong benched Carlisle _ even if the sophomore guard had only five points on 1-for-7 shooting in Friday’s 83-63 loss at San Diego State.
After sitting out the first 4 minutes, Carlisle made two 3-pointers as the teams played to a 21-21 tie. Carlisle then hit another 3-pointer as Northwestern ended the first half with a 17-3 run. Joe Branch scored eight points during the surge, which gave the Wildcats a 38-24 halftime lead.
Hunt scored the Penguins’ first 11 points of the second half, including three 3-pointers, cutting the deficit to 44-37. Carlisle responded by scoring 10 of Northwestern’s next 11 points, putting his team up 55-44 with 7 minutes left.