Gophers Survive in Overtime, Defeat Northwestern at B1G Tournament

Go Gophers! Rodney Williams had 12 points and 6 rebounds in the Gopher win.
Go Gophers!
Rodney Williams had 12 points and 6 rebounds in the Gopher win.
Go Gophers!

March 8, 2012

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Tenth-seeded Minnesota pulled off the first upset of the 2012 B1G Tournament, as the Gophers survived and advanced with a 75-68 overtime victory against No. 7 Northwestern.

Freshman guard Andre Hollins had a career-high 25 points for the Golden Gophers, including 16 in the first half, and freshman center Elliott Eliason grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds with senior Ralph Sampson III missing the game with a knee injury.

The teams went to the overtime period tied at 61-61, but junior guard Julian Welch and sophomore guard Austin Hollins each hit three-pointers in the extra session to help the Gophers build a 68-64 lead. Minnesota then made enough free throws to hold off the Wildcats. Austin Hollins finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for the Gophers, and junior guard Rodney Williams added 12 points and six boards.

With the win, the Gophers improve to 19-13 and advance to play second-seeded Michigan in a quarterfinal matchup on Friday at 5:30 p.m. (CT). That game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network. Northwestern falls to 18-13 and will now wait to see if it receives an invitation to play in a postseason tournament.

Andre Hollins was instrumental from the start, as he scored 13 of Minnesota's first 15 points to give the Gophers a 15-5 lead a little more than six minutes into the game.

After an 18-foot jumper by Chip Armelin put Minnesota up 17-8, the Wildcats responded with three treys during an 11-0 run to give NU its first lead of the game.

Northwestern expanded its lead to four points before Andre Hollins struck again, nailing his fourth three-pointer of the first half to give him 16 points and cut the deficit to 22-21. But the Wildcats made four three-pointers to stretch the advantage to 34-28 before Welch and Williams each made treys to pull Minnesota within two points at the half.

After the break, Williams helped the Gophers retake the lead for the first time since they led 17-14 by scoring five points during an 11-4 run to put them up by five points, 45-40.

John Shurna scored six points and JerShon Cobb added four points, as Northwestern countered with a 13-5 run to pull back in the lead by three, 53-50, with 8:38 left in regulation.

Minnesota fought back to tie the score at 57-57 on a trey by Andre Hollins with 5:05 remaining, but Cobb scored four more points for NU to give it a 61-57 lead with 4:06 left.

The Wildcats were held scoreless from that point on in regulation, as layups by Welch and Andre Hollins, the latter with 55 seconds remaining, sent the game to overtime.

The game was just the sixth overtime contest in the history of the Big Ten Tournament.