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Offense propels Northwestern in win over Mississippi Valley State

EVANSTON, Ill. -- After almost every game, Northwestern head coach Chris Collins praises his fifth-year senior Drew Crawford.

"He's a warrior," Collins said about Crawford. "I've been telling our guys from day one, all I want all of our guys to do is to have the urgency Drew Crawford has every day. He's a fifth-year senior. This is his last go around and for us to be successful and maximize who we can be, we need everybody in that locker room. He's an inspiration for me. There have been times when I get a little down or I get a little frustrated and I look at him and he makes me want to keep fighting for him."

With the absence of second leading scorer JerShon Cobb due to a sprained ankle, even more responsibility fell on Crawford to carry the offensive load against Mississippi Valley State. He responded with a season-high 26 points on 9-15 shooting.

"I thought Drew Crawford was just a star tonight. With JerShon being out, he took on the challenge. He led us in every way. He got every big rebound when we needed it. He made his free throws. He played a great game," Collins said.

Crawford was one of four Northwestern players to score in double figures Monday night as Northwestern (6-5) beat MSVU (3-7) 86-64.

"When a man goes down," Collins said about Cobb's injury, "other guys have got to step up."

Along with Crawford, Tre Demps (18 points), Alex Olah (18) and Sanjay Lumpkin (13) led the scoring charge for Northwestern. Demps and Lumpkin posted new career-highs while Olah matched his.

"This was definitely a big win for us," Crawford said. "I think tonight we played really well offensively. We had a lot of guys contributing offensively. Last game (against) Western Michigan, we played tremendous defense. Offensively, we missed some open shots but tonight we were making those shots. If anything, it's a big confidence builder for us knowing that our offense can run sharply."

Northwestern's 86 points were its second-highest output of the season after a 93-point outburst in a win over UIC in November.

Lumpkin and Crawford also posted double-doubles with 10 rebounds apiece.

Northwestern next plays Brown on Dec. 22 at Welsh-Ryan Arena.