Gophers Fall to Northwestern 55-53 at Home

The Minnesota Gophers blew a 50-40 lead with 4:04 left in the game as they lost to Northwestern at home 55-53. T.J. Parker made a jumper with .9 seconds left and gave the Wildcats their first lead since it was 13-12 with 8:36 left in the first half. The loss dropped Minnesota to 16-7 overall and 6-4 in Big Ten play. The Gophers go on the road and will face Indiana Saturday and Michigan State Wednesday.

Minnesota got off to a slow start as Northwestern scored the first five points of the game and jumped out to a 11-2 lead. However, Minnesota scored the next five points and took the lead at 14-13 with a Vincent Grier jumper.

The Wildcats would go scoreless for 9:29 as the Gophers expanded the lead to 19-13. T. J. Parker made a lay-up with five seconds left in the first half as Minnesota went into halftime with a 23-17 margin.

Minnesota expanded the lead to as much as 10 points twice and went up 50-40 with a Vincent Grier dunk. However, he was called for technical for slapping the backboard. Vedran Vukusic made both free throws, Vince Scott made a three-pointer and Mohammmed Hachad made a lay-up to cut the lead to 50-47 with 2:11 to go.

Dan Coleman made one of two free throws with 2:01 left to put the Gophers up by four. Hachad missed both free throw attempts with 1:37 left and he fouled Coleman, who again made the second of two free throws with 1:27 left.

Vukusic made a three-pointer with 1:11 left in the game to cut the lead to 52-50. Aaron Robinson made one of two free throws to make it 53-50 with 1:08 left. Vince Scott made a three-pointer to knot the score at 53-53. Brent Lawson missed a left corner three-pointer with 12 seconds left, giving the Wildcats one last possession. Parker drove right and hit a fade away jumper with 0.9 seconds left to give the Wildcats their first road win of the year.

Minnesota was hurt by turnovers throughout the game, giving the ball away 23 times. Northwestern shot 62.5% from the field in the second half on 15-of-24 field goal attempts.

Grier was the lone double-figure scorer for the Gophers as he scored 32 points on nine of 16 shooting from the field and 12 of 14 from the line. Coleman scored eight points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds. Starters Aaron Robinson and Brent Lawson combined to miss all nine field goal attempts. The Gophers owned a 39-18 rebounding edge. The Gophers also got to the free throw line often, making 21-of-27 while Northwestern was just 4-of-7.

Parker led the Wildcats with 19 points and six steals. Vukusic and Hachad added nine points apiece. Northwestern had 17 steals in the game, compared to just four for the Gophers.

Minnesota travels to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on KSTP Channel 5.

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