EditorsNote: 1st graf, should be ninth, not eighth; style fix in seventh graf
Daniel Oturu’s ninth double-double of the season led a balanced Minnesota effort Sunday night as the Golden Gophers stopped short-handed Northwestern 77-68 in a Big Ten game in Minneapolis.
Oturu’s 19 points and 16 rebounds enabled Minnesota to up its record to 8-6 overall and 2-2 in the conference. Marcus Carr sank all 10 of his free throws and finished with 17 points, while Alihan Demir contributed 11 points and nine boards. Tre’ Williams finished with 10 points.
Pat Spencer scored a game-high 22 points and dished out eight assists for the Wildcats (5-8, 0-3), while Miller Kopp added 14 points and Ryan Young scored 10. Northwestern was dominated 43-28 on the glass, permitting 15 offensive rebounds that led to 18 points.
The big run came midway through the second half, when the Gophers ripped off 13 straight points for a 57-34 cushion with 9:45 left after Williams stole the ball and dunked in transition.
The Wildcats never quit working the game and closed within 69-60 with 2:01 remaining when Robbie Beran hit two foul shots, but Minnesota finished a 19-of-19 night at the foul line by hitting eight straight in the final 1:53.
Playing without point guard Boo Buie and two other rotation players, Northwestern went into this one with just seven scholarship players. But the Wildcats got off to a decent start, leading 11-7 six minutes into the game on a Pete Nance layup.
Minnesota used the 3-pointer to gain some traction. Northwestern opted to play mostly zone to hide its lack of depth, and the Golden Gophers managed to can six of their first 13 from beyond the arc. Demir’s 3-pointer capped a 7-0 burst that put them ahead for good at 14-11.
Spencer’s free throws with 8:02 left in the half enabled the Wildcats to stay within 23-19, but Minnesota created a bit of separation. Demir’s layup in the final minute allowed it to head for intermission with a 34-25 advantage despite 13-of-35 shooting from the field.
—Field Level Media