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NIT 2012, Akron Vs. Northwestern Final Score: Wildcats Take Down Zips, 76-74

The Akron Zips' season didn't finish the way they had envisioned it. As the No. 1 seed in the Mid-American Conference tournament and taking on Ohio in the conference title game, I'm sure they expected to be dancing this upcoming weekend. Instead, they are already out of the NIT, falling to the Northwestern Wildcats in the opening round on Tuesday night, 76-74.

Junior guard Drew Crawford scored a game-high 27 points on 10-for-15 shooting for Northwestern. The Wildcats' all-time leading scorer John Shurna added 23 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.

Akron was led by Quincy Diggs' 18 points off the bench.

The Zips trailed by eight at the half, but battled back to take the lead about seven minutes into the second. It was back-and-forth the rest of the way, but a Shurna three with 1:24 proved to be the game-winner after Akron missed their final four shots, including Alex Abreu's three-point attempt at the buzzer for the win.

Northwestern will now play the winner of the Washington/Texas-Arlington game.

For more on the NIT, be sure to check out our NCAA basketball hub. Also be sure to check out our 2012 NCAA Tournament for more on the Big Dance.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.