Wildcats rally past Gophers, 67-59

Published 5:32 pm Friday, February 26, 2021

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MINNEAPOLIS — Boo Buie scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half, sparking Northwestern to rally past Minnesota 67-59 on Thursday night, bringing an end to a 13-game losing streak that stretches back to Dec. 29.

Buie opened the second half with a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 12-0 run as Northwestern (7-14, 4-13 Big Ten Conference) surged into its first of the game and turned what had been a Minnesota cruise into a battle. He drained another huge 3 with 1:37 remaining to push the Wildcats lead to 58-51.

Northwestern made six straight free throws in the last 37 seconds to clinch it. The win was the Wildcats’ first in “The Barn” in more than three years (Jan. 23, 2018), which was also a second-half comeback.

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Miller Kopp added 15 points, 10 after halftime, for Northwestern.

Marcus Carr led the Golden Gophers (13-11, 6-11) with 21 points and seven assists. Jamal Mashburn added 13 points, Brandon Johnson added 10.

Northwestern made 22 of 27 free throws — 15 of 18 in the second half — to keep control. Buie was a perfect 12 of 12 at the line.

Minnesota never trailed the entire first half, but after Buie’s spark, the teams swapped the lead five times in the second half until Northwestern took a 51-49 lead on a Kopp 3-pointer and held it the rest of the way.

Minnesota, which led by as many as 14 in the first half and was up 31-25 at the break, was playing without center Liam Robbins, held out with a sprained left ankle. It was the first game this season that Robbins, the team’s second-leading scorer (11.7 ppg), missed.

Starting guard Gabe Kalscheur, missed his third straight game with a broken finger on his shooting hand.

Northwestern’s Chase Audige, with three steals, matched former Wildcat Scottie Lindsey (2016-17) with nine multiple-steal games through the first 20 in a season.

Northwestern plays host to Maryland Wednesday, March 3. The Golden Gophers travel to Nebraska on Saturday.