Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Rapid Recap: Minnesota 75, Northwestern 66 (OT)

Senior+center+Matthew+Nicholson+slams+home+a+dunk.
Daily file photo by Alyce Brown
Senior center Matthew Nicholson slams home a dunk.

Four days after Northwestern’s siege of No. 2 Purdue fell a shot short, as graduate student guard Boo Buie’s potential game winner ricocheted off the rim, coach Chris Collins’ squad regrouped for a northern clash at Minnesota Saturday.

Wednesday’s overtime defeat took a physical and emotional toll on the visitors. Collins received an ejection in the game’s final seconds, and the Big Ten publicly reprimanded him Friday. Though time heals all wounds, Collins and company entered Williams Arena in need of a bounceback victory.

While the Wildcats (15-7, 6-5 Big Ten) appeared en route to a vital road win, they fell in overtime against the Golden Gophers (14-7, 5-5 Big Ten).

Three minutes and six seconds into the contest, Senior guard Ty Berry extended his scorching shooting stretch, draining a 3-pointer to hand the ‘Cats their first lead of the game. From there, NU entered a three-plus-minute scoring lull, until junior guard Brooks Barnhizer broke the cold streak on a corner trey.

Once the under 12-timeout struck, the ‘Cats had soared out in front to a 14-8 advantage, rendering Minnesota ice-cold from the field. However, the Golden Gophers then launched a 7-0 run to recapture the lead.

NU stormed back in front, courtesy of a quickfire offensive flurry. With less than four minutes left in the frame, Berry cashed his second triple of the afternoon to extend his team’s advantage to double digits.

However, the lead swiftly evaporated, as Minnesota guard Elijah Hawkins drilled a buzzer-beater from downtown to cap a 10-0 Golden Gopher response and knot the game at 27 apiece heading into halftime. 

Buie opened the second half with a pull-up 3-pointer, and the fifth-year phenom followed up his effort with a catch-and-shoot trey on the ensuing offensive possession. The ‘Cats fed off their veteran leader’s energy, building a nine-point advantage less than five minutes into the period.

While Minnesota guard Mike Mitchell Jr. capped a Golden Gopher advance that cut the lead to just one point, NU punched back to nab a 51-44 edge at the under-eight timeout. Carrying an eight-point lead with less than five minutes remaining, Collins’ group hit an untimely cold stretch, and coach Ben Johnson’s team rose to meet the moment’s magnitude.

With both teams unable to land the final blow in regulation, the hosts ultimately prevailed over the ‘Cats in overtime.

Here are three takeaways from NU’s overtime loss to Minnesota.

  1. Early turnovers sputter momentum

For a team that prides itself on limited miscues, the ‘Cats began Saturday’s game with turnovers on back-to-back possessions. While NU appeared to clean up its effort in the next few minutes, possessional issues once again arose to the tune of 12 first-half turnovers.

Apart from Barnhizer, every member of the starting five tallied at least one turnover in the half’s opening 15 minutes. Senior center Matthew Nicholson picked up two early fouls and two turnovers to boot.

Although the ‘Cats compiled seven turnovers by the under-four timeout, the Golden Gophers failed to take full advantage of the visiting missteps, nabbing just seven points off turnovers at this juncture.

But NU’s inability to build sustained momentum came back to haunt the visitors, and Collins’ group certainly wished it had a few first-half possessions back once the final buzzer sounded.

  1. Late first-half flameout leaves matchup in the balance

After the ‘Cats went wire-to-wire in Mackey Arena due in large part to their outside shooting, Collins stuck to his guns against Minnesota. The 3-pointers were dropping, and the Golden Gophers looked ill-fit to match NU’s offensive prowess.

Then, Minnesota caught fire on the offensive end and locked down defensively. Holding NU scoreless for the final 3 minutes and 46 seconds, Johnson’s squad appeared several steps ahead of its opponent. 

In an almost inexplicable collapse, the ‘Cats combined turnovers with missed shots and late rotations to nullify their early production. They’d gone toe-to-toe with a national power just four days before — now a team in the conference’s lower half was taking it to NU.

From a 27-17 margin that appeared certain to grow, the ‘Cats found themselves in a 27-27 rock fight after 20 minutes of hoops.

  1. Road problems persist

Although NU appeared to have the upper hand for much of the second half, the ‘Cats faced yet another road test that would be decided in the closing moments. Though Collins’ group has found a flurry of home luck — road results haven’t been on their side.

Entering the final minute and six seconds up one point, NU failed to close out another tight road clash — before stumbling in overtime. Saturday’s defeat marked the first consecutive losses for the ‘Cats this season.

Now, success at Welsh-Ryan Arena —with a home test this Wednesday night against Nebraska — is ever more essential.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @jakeepste1n 

Related Stories:

Men’s Basketball: Northwestern engages in physical battle in OT loss to No. 2 Purdue

Men’s Basketball: Northwestern gives No. 2 Purdue all it can handle in 105-96 overtime loss

Rapid Recap: No. 2 Purdue 105, Northwestern 96 (OT)

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