Northwestern countered an apparent emphatic closing statement by Texas State with an overwhelming response of its own Monday night.
Dave Sobolewski scored 18 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:45 left to give the Wildcats the lead for good, and Northwestern closed the game on a 12-0 run to defeat the visiting Bobcats 74-68.
"So you outscore them 12-0, is it the defense or the offense?" Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "(Texas State) had a couple of turnovers, and that was important, but I think our guys recognized that they were back in the game after being down by 6."
When Texas State's Corey Stern slammed in a dunk with 3:31 left, he gave the Bobcats a 68-62 lead. But he also was hit with a technical foul for hanging on the rim. Northwestern's Jared Swopshire made only 1 of the 2 ensuing free throws, but Reggie Hearn and Sobolewski then hit 2 free throws each to cut it to 68-67.
After Sobolewski connected on his jump shot to put Northwestern (8-3) ahead 70-68, free throws by Alex Marcotullio, Sobolewski and Swopshire completed the scoring.
"(The technical) obviously started the 12-0 run, so that was huge for us," Sobolewski said. "Just knowing we had a chance to get 2 (points) and another possession afterward was a nice mental boost for our group."
Hearn finished with 15 points and Tre Demps, who left late in the game with a sprained ankle, added 12.
The Wildcats were cold from the floor for the second straight game, shooting just 43 percent. Northwestern endured a long drought in the second half when Texas State (4-7) seemed to take charge.
But then came the late heroics in a scrappy game where fouls and free throws played a role. Texas State went 13 of 15 from the line and Northwestern shot 14 of 25.
"I thought we were getting decent shots even though they weren't falling," Sobolewski said.