Coming off a loss against another bubble team (Michigan State), Northwestern looked to snatch a win Thursday night against fellow bubble team Minnesota in their conference home opener. Also barely losing to Michigan State, Minnesota looked to carry their momentum over from a win over Purdue just a few days prior.

  • For NU it was McIntosh, Lindsey, Lumpkin, Vic Law, and Dererk Pardon returning from a hand injury to start out.
  • For Minn, Mason, McBrayer, Coffey, Lynch and Murphy started the game.
  • Starting off the first half, Minnesota and Northwestern played a game of cat and mouse. After gaining a five-point lead, Minnesota surrendered six straight after being tied 16-16.
  • After pulling back to even, the teams stayed within a possession of each other the rest of the half before a Bryant McIntosh buzzer beater sent NU up 39-35 at the half.
  • Starting off the 2nd half, it was much of the same. Despite a four-point lead, Minnesota refused to lose control on the game. After finally going down by seven points, Minnesota responded with two consecutive three pointers, followed by a layup, to take the lead 48-47 with around 10 minutes left in the half.
  • Again, Minnesota struggled to pull away as Northwestern came back to within three points after being down by six earlier on. NU had multiple open three-point looks from Gavin Skelly to tie the game, but the big man couldn’t knock it down after getting open off of a few nice picks.
  • Back from injury, Dererk Pardon looked ready and controlled, with a much-needed eight rebounds accompanied by nine points.
  • Per usual, Nate Taphorn and Gavin Skelly received the only big minutes off the bench. For the first time this season, Jordan Ash received playing time over freshman Isaiah Brown. Skelly was a rough 2-9, including a brutal 0-6 from three.
  • As this felt like a game of copy-cat at times, it made sense that Minnesota would also receive little contribution from their bench. What they did get were rebounding contributions from the entire starting lineup (Only one McBrayer had less than 4).
  • Aside from Mason going 8-9, Minnesota struggled from the free throw line going just 14-22 (63.6%).
  • Representing their questionable shot selections and inability to capitalize on open looks, Northwestern was a disappointing 38% from the field. Because McIntosh was the only starter with a turnover, though, they managed to get nine more field goal attempts than their opponent.
  • Once again, foul trouble was an issue for NU as Sanjay Lumpkin fouled out for the 2nd game in a row, something more common than should be for him. Minnesota had nine more free throw opportunities than NU but failed to capitalize.
  • For Minnesota, two starters scored seven points, two scored 12, and Coffey had 17 points to finish off a balanced scoring night.
  • Next up for NU, they visit Nebraska on Sunday. Nebraska has beaten some good teams, but NU still needs a win to avoid starting 1-3 in conference play.
  • For Minn, they host OSU Sunday night. They could benefit from a win over the Buckeyes to give themselves an edge amongst other B1G bubble teams.


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