U's road woes continue in loss to Northwestern

Jitim Young scored 26 of his career-high 31 points in the second half as Northwestern kept Minnesota winless in the Big Ten, beating the Golden Gophers 61-47. Minnesota is now 0-7 on the road this season and 0-7 in coference play. Minnesota (8-11, 0-7) lost its sixth straight game.

Jitim Young scored 12 straight Northwestern points during a second-half run as the Wildcats (8-10, 3-4) overcame a four-point halftime deficit. It marked the first 30-point game by a Wildcat player since Evan Eschmeyer had 30 against Michigan State in the 1999 Big Ten Tournament.
 
The Wildcats forced 17 Minnesota turnovers with 11 steals and allowed the Gophers to shoot just 34.5% from the field, including 18.2% from three-point range. 
 
Minnesota freshman Kris Humphries, the Big Ten's leading scorer and rebounder with averages of 22.7 and 10.5 respectively, led the Gophers with 12 points (a season low) and 12 rebounds, but had just one point in the second half. Minnesota (8-11, 0-7) lost its sixth straight game.
 
"I thought our defense was good," said NU head coach Bill Carmody. "We wanted to limit the touches Humphries got, and I think we did. He did not get as many touches in the positions that he wanted to, and that was the difference."
 
This was a three-point game with eight minutes left in regulation, at 41-38, but Young hit a pair of free throws, and then had a followup basket to start a 14-4 NU run. Mohamed Hachad followed Young's four points by grabbing a loose ball, driving three-quarters of the floor, making a spin move and banking in a shot for a nine-point lead.
 
Young later drove for a basket after a steal, hit two free throws after he was knocked to the floor during a scramble and then hit a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock as Northwestern went up by 13.
 
Young shot 10-for-13 from the field and was 10-of-15 from the line en route to his career-high game; his previous high was 29. He also had eight rebounds to lead NU, and three steals.
 
"I thought Jitim was fantastic," said Carmody. "He was all over the court. He finished all of his shots and he was playing with emotion, which he usually does, but he had a little extra fire there. I was really happy for him."

Hachad added 13 points for the Wildcats -- the fifth time in the last six games he has reached double figures -- and also filled the box score with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals. Vedran Vukusic had 10 points; point guard T.J. Parker had five assists (without a turnover) and a pair of steals.
 
"I was very straightforward with Mohamed after the Penn State game, and I was happy with the way he came back today. He is a guy that gives us some athleticism," said Carmody.
 
As a team, Northwestern overcame a game when it hit just two three-pointers (on 14 attempts) and went 15-of-27 from the foul line. The Wildcats committed just four turnovers, the fourth time in the last five games they have been in single digits in that category.
 
Minnesota shot just 29% in the second half after hitting 42 percent in the first. Brent Lawson's 3-pointer just before the first-half buzzer put the Golden Gophers ahead 26-22.
 
Northwestern got the lead back midway through the second half when Hachad hit a basket and two free throws and then fed Young for a driving layup. Young got inside for another basket to cap a 15-6 run and put the Wildcats ahead by five as the Gophers went nearly seven minutes without a point.
 
Minnesota's senior guard Ben Johnson, who played his first two seasons at Northwestern before transferring after the 2001 season, scored eight points in his first and last return to Welsh-Ryan Arena. He did not play against the Wildcats in Evanston last year because of illness.
 

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