Northwestern’s season ends with loss to Minnesota

Miller Kopp scored nine points to lead the Wildcats, who finish the season at 9-15.

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Northwestern’s Ryan Young (15) and Miller Kopp (10) leave the court after the Wildcats’ loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament.

Northwestern’s Ryan Young (15) and Miller Kopp (10) leave the court after the Wildcats’ loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten tournament.

Darron Cummings/AP

INDIANAPOLIS — Tre Williams scored 14 points and Jamal Mashburn Jr. 11 and Minnesota snapped a seven-game skid with a 51-46 win over Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten Conference tournament on Wednesday.

The Golden Gophers advance to take on fifth-seeded and No. 9 ranked Ohio State on Thursday.

Minnesota pulled out the win despite shooting a paltry 37% (18 for 49) while making just 10 of 24 (42%) from the foul line.

Down the stretch, however, the Wildcats didn’t help their cause when with a 46-39 lead with 4:20 to go they never scored again. Despite a 3-for-10 shooting effort, Minnesota’s Marcus Carr drained back-to-back fadeaway jumpers and 2 of 3 foul shots in a 90-second span and the Golden Gophers led 49-46 with 72 seconds left.

Carr finished with 10 points, Eric Curry grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds and Brandon Johnson snared 10 boards for Minnesota.

Following a slow start, Northwestern gradually whittled its way back and took its first lead of the game at 40-38 on Miller Kopp’s jumper with 7:02 left. Kopp led Northwestern with nine points.

Both Gach made a 3-pointer and a jump shot and Mashburn Jr. made a layup and a jumper and Minnesota (14-14) built a 16-2 advantage.

Despite missing 23 of 31-shot attempts in the half, Northwestern (9-15) outscored Minnesota 11-6 in the last 4:16 of the half to reduce its deficit to 27-20 at halftime.

Minnesota entered the conference tournament as the 13th seed and the Wildcats were No. 12. Northwestern finished the conference season at 6-13 and the Golden Gophers 6-14. Northwestern beat Minnesota 67-59 at Minneapolis in the lone regular season game they played against each other.

The Golden Gophers moved their record to 6-2 against Northwestern in conference tournament play.

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