By John Beers
After a fiery offensive first half, things got absolutely defensive in the second half as the Northwestern Wildcats dropped their Big Ten home opener 70-66 to the Minnesota Golden Gophers. After making their first seven field goals to start the game, the Wildcats only shot just over 30-percent the rest of the game as Minnesota surged back in the second half to hand Northwestern their second defeat in as many games. Here are the other stats and facts you need to know about the loss to the Gophers.
- Dererk Pardon provided a solid presence in the paint for the Wildcats in his first game back after being sidelined for eight games with a hand injury. The sophomore center led Northwestern with eight rebounds and followed up a slow offensive first half by scoring the Wildcats first six points of the second half. Pardon finished with nine points in his return, while also adding two assists, a block and a steal.
- After shooting a respectable 52% from the field in the first half, the Wildcats only connected on 29-percent of their attempts in the latter 20 minutes.
- The Wildcats were done in by long scoring droughts that allowed Minnesota to lead all the way through the last 10 minutes of the game. Starting at the 12 minute mark in the first half, Chris Collins’ crew went the next eight minutes without making a field, allowing the Golden Gophers to go on an 8-0 run. Similarly, Northwestern went another five minutes without a field early on in the second half, during which Minnesota outscored the ‘Cats 10-0.
- Vic Law and Bryant McIntosh were dynamic for the Wildcats in the first half but faded down the stretch. Law had 12 points in the first twenty minutes, while McIntosh led all scorers with 14 at the intermission. The duo went ice cold in the second half though, as the only combined to score nine second half points while shooting a combined three of 12 from the field.
- Law often made up for his inconsistent offensive performance with stout a defensive effort. The sophomore swingman led the Wildcats with three blocks while also snagging five defensive rebounds.
- Scottie Lindsey failed to score in double figures for the first time all season, as the Illinois-native managed to score eight points on 4-12 shooting. Lindsey was a key cog to the offensive outburst in the first half as he led the Wildcats with four assists in the first period, but failed register an assist in the second half.
- Minnesota freshman Amir Coffey—younger brother of Northwestern Women’s basketball star Nia Coffey—spearheaded the Gopher attack, finishing with 17 points while also handing out three helpers and registering two steals.
- After going 0-4 from the charity stripe in the first half, the Gophers sank 14 out of 18 attempts in the second half. Conversely, the Wildcats started 8 for 9 on free throws in the first half, but only made four free throws from the line in the second period.
- With the loss the Wildcats drop to 1-2 in Big Ten play. The Wildcats have never had a winning record after their first three conference games in the three seasons Chris Collins has been at the helm.