Shurna, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, had 25 points to lead Northwestern past Georgia Tech 76-60 on Tuesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Shurna, a 6-foot-9 senior forward, made three 3-pointers and had a team-high eight rebounds as Northwestern (6-0) remained unbeaten. He had the first six points of each half.
Georgia Tech already knew about Shurna’s scoring exploits. He had 21 points as Northwestern beat Georgia Tech 91-71 in last year’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Evanston, Ill.
“If you give him space, he was far more aggressive,” said Georgia Tech’s Jason Morris of Shurna.
Georgia Tech’s 17 turnovers led to 16 points for Northwestern. The Wildcats had 11 steals, including three by Shurna, who said defense was the key to the win.
“I think what’s real important in these neutral environment games is the defense,” Shurna said. “I think our coaches did a good job scouting the game for us. They gave us a good game plan, and in the second half we clamped down.”
Northwestern outscored Georgia Tech 32-21 in the second half as the Yellow Jackets made only 8 of 27 shots from the field.
Shurna opened the second half with two 3-pointers as the Wildcats pulled away quickly after leading by only five points at halftime.
“That was basically just a wake-up call, in my opinion,” Morris said. “To me it wasn’t a dagger. … We just need to pick it up on defense.”
Drew Crawford had 14 points and Luka Mirkovic had 13 for Northwestern.
“Good players make them difficult to defend,” said Georgia Tech first-year coach Brian Gregory. “Shurna and Crawford are very good players.”
Morris led Georgia Tech (4-3) with a career-high 21 points. Mfon Udofia had 12.
Northwestern never trailed. Shurna opened the game with a 3-pointer, followed by a three-point play, and the Wildcats were in control most of the game.