Evanston, Ill. (Nov. 20, 2012) --- Competing without its top two inside players for much of the game, Delaware State cut a 20-point second half deficit to eight before running out of gas in a 69-50 loss to Northwestern in  South Padre Island Invitational contest at Welsh-Ryan Arena this evening.

The Hornets (3-2) trailed 44-24 after two Northwestern free throws with 16:47 left to play. 

DSU responded with an 18-6 run, and pulled to within 50-42 on a three-pointer by Tyshawn Bell with 9:25 remaining.

The Big Ten Wildcats (4-0) responded with a 13-3 spurt to regain control of the game. Drew Crawford capped off the Northwestern run with a follow-up basket to give the Cats a 63-45 lead with 6:24 left to play.

DSU's starting center Kendall Gray sat out the contest (injury), while starting forward Marques Oliver played just nine minutes in the first half before being forced to sit due to an injury.

The Hornets more than held their own early in the contest. Oliver scored off an offensive rebound to give DSU an 11-5 lead 15:38 left in the first half. Shortly before going down, he gave the Hornets a 13-10 lead on a lay-up about two minutes later.

The game was tied at 17-17 before Northwestern began to pull away. The Wildcats scored 15 of the next 17 points, and opened up a 32-19 lead on a three-pointer by Crawford with 1:29 to go in the half.

Northwestern led 35-22 at the break.

Delaware State's Tahj Tate led all players with a season-high 23 points. Tate was 8-for-15 from the field and 4-of-6 on three-point shots.

Bell had 11 points for the Hornets, highlighted by three three-pointers.

Crawford led four Northwestern players in double figures with 18 points. His performance was highlighted by four three-point field goals.

Delaware State was 18-for-46 from the field (39.1%), including 8-of-19 from three-point territory. DSU was 6-for-12 from three-point range in the second half. The Hornets were six-of-11 from the free throw line, but committed a season-low eight turnovers in the contest.

Northwestern was an even 50% from the field, hitting 26 of its 52 shots, including 12 of 22 from beyond the arc (54.5%),

The Wildcats used their size advantage to gain a 37-22 rebounding edge. Crawford also led all players with nine boards.

Delaware State returns to action on Friday (Nov. 23) against Fairleigh Dickinson in South Padre Island, Tex. Game time is 1:00 p.m. ET.

Delaware State men's basketball