EVANSTON – Mississippi Valley junior transfer Davon Usher scored a game-leading 35 points to almost single-handedly keep the Delta Devils in the game, but Northwestern got key late baskets from sophomore guard Dave Sobolewski to pull out an 81-68 win Thursday night.
Sobolewski scored his first field goal of the season on a layup to break a 58-58 tie midway through the second half moments after Usher had hit a 3-point shot from the right corner to knot the score.
Sobolewski scored all 13 of his points, including two 3-point baskets, down the stretch to give Northwestern (2-0) the victory.
Reggie Hearn had 23 points and Jared Swopshire added 22 for the Wildcats, who needed a 23-10 spurt in the final 8:54 to win.
Usher seemed to zone in as the game progressed, going 7 of 8 on 3-point attempts He had scored 32 points in his first two games with Mississippi Valley (0-3).
No. 1 Indiana 99, Sam Houston St. 45: At Bloomington, Ind., Christian Watford scored 23 points to help No. 1 Indiana defeat Sam Houston State 99-45 on Thursday night in the Progressive Legends Classic.
Will Sheehey scored 18 points, Victor Oladipo had 14 and Jordan Hulls 10 for the Hoosiers (3-0), who shot 57 percent from the field and made 9 of 21 3-pointers.
Paul Baxter scored nine points and Marquel McKinney had eight for Sam Houston State (1-2). The Bearkats pushed Arkansas before losing their opener 73-68 on the road.
Indiana beat the Bearkats in every possible way. About the only thing Indiana coach Tom Crean could complain about was that the Hoosiers made just 30 of 44 free throws.
No. 6 N.C. State 72, Penn State 55: At Bayamon, Puerto Rico, T.J. Warren had 22 points and eight rebounds to lead the Wolfpack over the Nittany Lions in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tipoff.
C.J. Leslie had 14 points and Rodney Purvis added 12 points for the Wolfpack (2-0). Purvis was 3 for 3 on 3-pointers and N.C. State shot 8 for 16 from beyond the arc.
Tim Frazier led the Nittany Lions (1-1) with 23 points. D.J. Newbill had 13 points and Jermaine Marshall added 11 points for Penn State, which shot 3 for 19 on 3-pointers.
Minnesota 72, Tennessee St. 43: At Minneapolis, Rodney Williams hit 7 of 9 shots for 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds as the Gophers beat Tennessee State.
Andre Hollins scored all 13 of his points in the first half, and Austin Hollins posted 10 of his 12 in the first 20 minutes as the Gophers (3-0) raced ahead with a pair of 9-0 runs in the first seven minutes and were never threatened by the Tigers.
Iowa 66, Howard 36: At Iowa City, Iowa, Junior Devyn Marble scored a season-high 22 points and Iowa throttled Howard for its third straight win.
Aaron White added 16 points and eight rebounds for the Hawkeyes (3-0), who cruised despite hitting just four 3s in 21 tries.
Iowa took a 36-16 halftime lead over the overmatched Bison and never looked back. The Hawkeyes held Howard to the fewest points scored against them under third-year coach Fran McCaffery.
Mike Phillips had 11 to lead Howard (0-2), a MEAC school coming off a 10-21 season in 2011-12.
Gardner-Webb 71, DePaul 59: At Rosemont, Max Landis scored a career-high 20 points and Kevin Hartley added 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Gardner-Webb to an upset win over DePaul in the first round of the Cancun Challenge on Thursday night.
Gardner-Webb (2-2) got its first win against a Big East school, albeit against DePaul, which has managed to win just five conference games in the past four seasons.
Gardner-Webb blew open a close game after halftime. Cleveland Melvin’s basket got the Blue Demons (1-1) within 41-33 early in the second half, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs answered with a 12-4 run to get the lead up to 16. Landis hit a 3-pointer and Donta Harper finished a missed layup with a dunk to put Gardner-Webb up 53-37 with 12:58 left.
Harper finished with 13 points and eight rebounds for Gardner-Webb. Melvin had 18 points and Brandon Young added 10 for DePaul.
Illinois State 86, Drexel 84 (OT): At Philadelphia, Jackie Carmichael scored 21 points and Tyler Brown had 20 as Illinois State edged Drexel in overtime in a nonconference game.
Carmichael’s two free throws tied it at 75 with 2 seconds left in regulation.
Drexel led by three early in the extra period before the Redbirds (2-0) scored seven consecutive points. Brown hit a tying 3-pointer, then another basket for an 81-79 lead.
The Dragons (0-2) then turned the ball over and Johnny Hill’s layup put the Redbirds ahead by four.
Chris Fouch’s 3-pointer with 6 seconds left brought Drexel within one, 85-84, but Hill added a free throw, and Frantz Massenat’s running 3-point try for Drexel missed.
Drexel used a 12-1 second-half run to turn a three-point deficit into an eight-point lead. However, a 3-pointer by Brown, followed by a three-point play by Hill, got the Redbirds back into it at 71-69 with 5:06 left.