NU went to its bread and butter, getting the ball to its playmakers and focusing on the perimeter. Four players accounted for all but five of the Wildcats' 68 points, which definitely isn't ideal. However, the bench has become much more involved over the past two games, and while senior Juice Thompson was the star tonight, NU showed that it has plenty of talent returning next season.
Defense: B+ After giving up 78 points to Wisconsin, coach Bill Carmody was extremely frustrated with his team's defensive effort, not only in that game, but over the entire season. It appears his team got the message, holding Minnesota to 44.2-percent shooting, and only 17.6-percent from beyond the arc.
On paper, this should have been a Minnesota win. The Gophers are much stronger than the Wildcats inside and should have been able to exploit its advantage over NU on both ends of the court. However, Northwestern found a way to limit Minnesota's points in the paint and limited the Gohpers' rebounding advantage. It wasn't a defensive gem by any means, but after a stretch of miserable play on that end of the floor, it was definitely a step in the right direction.
Overall: A Northwestern wasn't supposed to win this game. It was a mismatch, both on paper and on the court. Minnesota looked like it was be able to run away with a win, holding a six-point halftime lead and a 10-point lead mid-way through the second half. However, Northwestern fought back, thanks to the outstanding play of Juice Thompson on senior night. This season didn't go as many of the Wildcat faithful had hoped, but tonight's game was a fitting farewell for Thompson and his fellow seniors.
Player of the Game: Michael Thompson Tonight was a fitting senior night for Thompson, who Carmody said had tears in his eyes before the game. He got off to a slow start, but down the stretch did what he does best, draining four threes and all six of his free throws for a total of 18 points. With Northwestern trailing by ten mid-way through the second half, Thompson led the Wildcats back with his perimeter play, and gave his team one of its most memorable wins in his storied career.