Minnesota overcomes miscues and poor shooting to down Northwestern in opening game of B1G Tournament
The opening game of this year’s B1G Tournament will not go down as an instant classic with Minnesota and Northwestern fighting to keep their season alive.
It appeared early on that Minnesota was going to cruise to a win, rolling out of the opening tipoff to a 16-2 lead. Northwestern was able to respond and cut the lead to seven points, 27-20, heading into halftime as both teams struggled shooting the ball.
After the break, the Gophers continued to struggle with missed shots and poor decisions as turnovers mounted throughout the game. It all led to the Wildcats battling all the way back to take the lead with seven minutes remaining.
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) March 11, 2021
Northwestern would improve on that lead, pushing it to 46-39 with 4:20 left in the game. Unfortunately, that is when the good news ended for the Wildcats.
Led by Marcus Carr in the closing minutes, Minnesota rattled off a 12-0 run to finish the game and win by a final score of 51-46. Though Carr struggled mightily with 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting from the field, he did put in six points in that closing run to get the Gophers into the next round.
Though the game featured some drama at the end, it was mostly devoid of sound basketball and strong performances. The two sides combined to shoot 34% (36-for-107) from the floor and 26% (10-for-38) from three-point range. The free-throw shooting was no better with both teams shooting below 50% from the charity stripe and combining for 31 turnovers.
Minnesota’s Tre Williams scored a game-high 14 points on 5-for-8 shooting. Miller Kopp led the Wildcats with nine points but shot just 4-for-18 from the field.
For the Gophers, they will move on to face Ohio State Thursday afternoon at approximately 2 pm EST on BTN. Minnesota did beat the Buckeyes this season 77-60 at home, but that win came on Jan. 3 with both teams heading in entirely different directions entering Indianapolis.