David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
The Northwestern Wildcats beat No. 12 Minnesota just two weeks after getting waxed by them in Minnesota, despite getting majorly outrebounded and missing a lot of free throws. Yeah, it happened.
Northwestern beat No. 12 Minnesota. The Gophers didn't play badly. Northwestern - who had just been blown out by them two weeks ago on the road - just straight up beat them with good defense.
This team turned around, and all of a sudden, its looking really good. This is gonna be an interesting season. The veterans have shown a lot of heart, and a team that looked dead without Drew Crawford is beating ranked teams. Impressive. Props to Jared Swopshire, Reggie Hearn, and Alex Marcotullio, seniors playing their hearts out and murdering people in the 1-3-1 zone.
Northwestern didn't play particularly well in the first half, falling behind by as much as seven. The Wildcats weren't playing good defense, but Minnesota was missing shots anyway - except they got every rebound. They were outrebounding Northwestern by double digits early. Even though NU played well on offense and was getting to the line - where they missed, duh - they were down, and needed some big plays late in the half to cut it to three.
In the second half, things turned. The offense kept clicking, but Northwestern switched to a 1-3-1, and, much like gangbusters, it worked, as NU strolled back into the game behind some turnovers and threes to come back and take the lead. You see, if they can't shoot because they turn it over, they can't get offensive rebounds. They'd push the lead to nine by the under four timeout. Which is when we started getting into "don't blow it, don't blow it, don't blow it" mode in my head.
Of course, Northwestern went into that mode too. Sobo missed his requisite free throws, Northwestern went into stall, and Minnesota made it close.
But Northwestern got stops and the win. And no awkward 12-person court rush! Celebrate, y'all.