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Tom Dienhart’s key Northwestern player: JerShon Cobb is the type of weapon that the Wildcats lack, a true threat to break down opponents off the dribble as the shot clock is winding down. And he injects a much-needed dose of athletic ability into the roster, showing skill on both ends tonight en route to scoring 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting with eight rebounds. That took some pressure off John Shurna, who had 21 points. But Dave Sobolewski (2 points), Reggie Hearn (5) and Drew Crawford (8) struggled.
Tom Dienhart’s key Minnesota player: How about freshman Dre Hollins? The kid was money all night, showing he should be mentioned in the same breath as other star Big Ten freshmen like Cody Zeller, Trey Burke, Branden Dawson, Aaron White and Dave Sobolewski. Hollins tallied 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting (5-of-10 from 3-point range), scoring with his jumper and off the dribble.
Tom Dienhart’s key moment: Trailing Minnesota, 71-68 with less than a minute to go, NU guard JerShon Cobb inexplicably lost the ball and turned it over. On the ensuing possession, Rodney Williams broke free under the hoop for an emphatic slam to forge a 73-68 lead. Wildcat guard Dave Sobolewski then missed two free throws to kill any remaining hope Northwestern had.
What’s next for Northwestern? NIT, here we come! This was a must-win game vs. an inferior opponent that the Wildcats had to capture if they hoped to snare an at-large NCAA bid. It didn’t happen, which casts serious doubt on their NCAA future as the program’s O-fer Big Dance streak figures to continue.
What’s next for Minnesota? Maybe the NIT. The Gophers are a win from that magical 20-win mark, showing great guts and moxy playing without one of its best players in big man Ralph Sampson III. Minnesota limited NU to 35 percent shooting and out rebounded the Wildcats 44-29. Plus, the Gophers out did Northwestern in the paint (24-12) and in bench points (18-8).
FINAL RECAP: Minnesota trailed in the waning moments of Thursday’s game but took the lead for good on a field goal by Julian Welch with with 3:41 remaining in overtime and hung on for a 75-68 overtime triumph over Northwestern at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in the Big Ten Tourney.
Andre Hollins and Austin Hollins both had solid performances for Minnesota (19-13). Hollins contributed 25 points, grabbed five rebounds, shot 10-of-16 from the field, and made 5-of-9 three-pointers. Hollins had 12 points, hauled in seven rebounds, and contributed seven assists.
Northwestern (18-13) fell short on the scoreboard, despite the efforts of JerShon Cobb. Cobb contributed 24 points, yanked down eight rebounds, and made 8-of-11 shots from the floor.
After going into the break with momentum, the Golden Gophers kept their foot on the gas to start the second half. Trailing 34-28 late in the first, Minnesota went on a 17-6 run to seize a five-point advantage early in the second half.
Welch had a quality shooting game, nailing 4-of-7 shots from the field and scoring 11 points. The Golden Gophers shot 47 percent from the field (29-of-62). Minnesota was on fire from beyond the arc during the game, shooting 42 percent (11-of-26). The Golden Gophers were tough on the offensive boards, grabbing 15. Minnesota also got a double-digit effort from Rodney Williams, who scored 12.
The Wildcats shot just 35 percent from the field (20-of-57). Northwestern was hot from long range, hitting 11-of-27 threes for a 41 percent night from beyond the arc. The Wildcats also got a double-digit contribution from John Shurna, who scored 21.
The Golden Gophers won the rebounding battle en route to victory, pulling down 41 boards to 24 for Northwestern.
-Recap by Narrative Science
HALFTIME RECAP: Northwestern leads 36-34 over Minnesota at the half thanks to a productive game so far from JerShon Cobb, who has 14 points on 5-5 shooting.
The game was tied 5-5 before the Wildcats went into a funk, going the next 3:12 without scoring, and allowing the Golden Gophers to take a 15-5 lead with 13:38 to go in the first half.
Northwestern shot 9-of-20 from beyond the arc in the first half (45 percent). The Wildcats played team basketball in the first half, to the tune of nine assists on 12 field goals.
Minnesota’s leading scorer, Rodney Williams, has been shut down thus far. With three points, the junior will need a strong second half to get to his usual level of production (10.9 points per game). The Golden Gophers fired often and fired with accuracy from distance, hitting 47 percent (7-of-15) of their three-point attempts. Minnesota applied the pressure in the first half, earning second-chance opportunities with six offensive rebounds, to just one for Northwestern. Eight Minnesota players scored in the half.
The Golden Gophers’ Andre Hollins already has 16 points.
-Recap by Narrative Science
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE:
Rebounds: Northwestern 10, Minnesota 20. Assists: Wildcats 9, Golden Gophers 7 | NU 36 MIN 34 Halftime—
Big Ten Network (@BTN_NU) March 08, 2012