The University of Minnesota men's basketball team (16-12) took a devastating first round loss at the Big Ten Tournament, losing to Northwestern (12-16) 76-64 today in Chicago, Ill. The Golden Gophers jumped out to a 15-6 lead in the first half, but the Wildcats would not let go easily as they closed the half with a two-point lead. The Wildcats went on to dominate the second half leading by as many as 14 to secure the 76-64 win.
In the second half, Northwestern started on a 13-3 run to give them a 12-point lead at the 16:37 mark. A Maurice Hargrow-dunk at 15:28 put Minnesota within 10. Yet, Northwestern continued their push uping their lead to 13 when JT Parker nailed a trey at 13:04. Four consecutive Minnesota free throws brought them within nine at the 11:58 mark. Later, a Rick Rickert jumper and free throw, brought the Maroon and Gold within six with 8:33 remaining.
The Golden Gophers fought hard but their lead slipped to 14 when the Wildcats capped an 18-10 run at 2:03 when Winston Blake hit one-of- two from the line. Minnesota came within eight points when Michael Bauer hit a three-pointer with just under a minute remaining. Four consecutive Wildcat free throws advanced their lead to 12 in the final minutes and gave them the 76-64 win.
Minnesota dominated for much of the first half jumping out to a 15-6 lead at the 14:59 point. Northwestern cut the Gophers lead to three with a 6-0 run that ended with a Jitim Young layup at 10:24. The Maroon and Gold pushed their lead to six three times in the following minutes. At the 6:18 point, Rickert finessed a jump shot and gave Minnesota their final six-point lead of the half. Northwestern then closed the half with a 12-4 run to gain the lead, 28-30, as the half expired.
The Maroon and Gold shot just 47.4 percent on free throws, going 9-of- 19 from the line. The Gophers also shot just 41.4 percent, 24-of-58, from the field and 43.8 percent, 7-of-16, from beyond the arc. While Minnesota dominated the boards pulling in 36 rebounds to Northwestern's 33, they were unable to stop their offense. The Wildcats shot 49 percent from the field, going 24-of-49 and 69.2 percent, 18-of-26, from the line.
Rickert and Bauer led the way for Minnesota with each having 16 points and four rebounds. Hargrow added 13 points and four rebounds, while Ben Johnson had 10 points and four rebounds.
Jitim Young led Northwestern with 20 points and seven rebounds, while T.J. Parker had 18 points.