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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Bryant McIntosh scored 17 points and Northwestern hit 15 3-pointers to beat Minnesota 72-66 on Wednesday night.
Tre Demps added 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Wildcats (12-14, 3-10 Big Ten), who have won two straight in the conference following a 10-game losing streak. Northwestern shot 43.6 percent for the game, but 47 percent on 32 3-point attempts and only turned the ball over 10 times.
Nate Mason scored 15 points for Minnesota (16-11, 5-9), but the Golden Gophers once again struggled to defend the 3-point line. They gave up 18 3s in a loss to Indiana on Sunday.
Alex Olah added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats, who held Minnesota's leading scorer Andre Hollins to 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting.
Hollins also had six assists and four rebounds, but was just 3 for 10 on 3-pointers.
After winning the Big Ten opener against Rutgers, the Wildcats lost 10 straight games while going through the growing pains of a rebuilding season. Northwestern starts three freshmen and a sophomore and only has one senior that sees regular playing time.
But they rebounded to beat Iowa last weekend, and once the 3s started falling on Wednesday night, the confidence started overflowing. The Wildcats fell behind by seven in the first half before ripping off a 12-0 run with four 3s, using ball movement and atrocious perimeter defense by Minnesota to get wide open look after wide open look.
Vic Law, who entered the night shooting 25 percent from 3-point range, buried one on three straight possessions early in the second half to key a 16-0 run that put them in front 52-42 with 12 minutes to go.
Thirteen of Northwestern's first 24 field goals were 3s, and that opened things up in the paint later in the second half.
Hollins, who was averaging more than 21 points per game over the last eight, didn't score his first bucket until there was 12:01 left in the game.
His 3-pointer with three minutes to go cut the deficit to 63-57, but McIntosh came right back with another for Northwestern to pad the lead again.
This loss may have ended any hopes the Gophers had of getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. They started the Big Ten season 0-5, but briefly revived their chances with three straight wins over Nebraska, Purdue and at Iowa. They were blown out by the Hoosiers in Bloomington on Sunday and returned home needing this one against the struggling Wildcats before a daunting stretch that includes games at Wisconsin and Michigan State and home against the Badgers in the next three games.
Northwestern: Nathan Taphorn scored 11 and Scottie Lindsey scored 10. ... Timberwolves broadcaster and former Gophers star Jim Petersen sat behind the Wildcats bench dressed in purple to cheer on his stepson Sanjay Lumpkin, a sophomore starter for Northwestern.
Minnesota: Hollins still managed to surpass Kevin McHale and Sam Jacobson to move into fourth place on Minnesota's career scoring list. ... F Gaston Diedhiou scored on a putback with under three minutes to play in the first half for his first basket as a Gopher.
Northwestern: Hosts Penn State on Saturday.
Minnesota: Visits Wisconsin on Saturday.
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