EVANSTON — Lose, rinse, repeat.
For the ninth straight game, Northwestern lost.
The Wildcats (12-16, 3-14 Big Ten) fell big at the hands of Minnesota (18-11, 8-10), losing 62-50 after shooting just 34 percent from the floor. Outside of Dererk Pardon, who scored 16 points and had 13 rebounds, NU had virtually no offense in the game KenPom said was Northwestern’s best chance to earn a victory the rest of this season.
Gopher guard Amir Coffey, the younger brother of legendary Northwestern women’s player Nia Coffey, who was nearly outscoring the Wildcats by himself at one point, tallying 32 points on a 12-of-19 shooting.
In nearly every category, Northwestern got beat. The Wildcats got out-rebounded by nine, and they made seven free throws compared to Minnesota’s 15. Minnesota didn’t shoot it great at 41 percent overall, but, simply put, one team showed up, and one didn’t.
In the first half, Northwestern couldn’t stop fouling. It took just over 9 minutes for the Golden Gophers to get into the bonus, and Minnesota held a 12-3 edge in free throw attempts, which accounted for most of the 12-point difference between the teams.
Northwestern turned the ball over 9 times in the first half, though Minnesota, which shot 38 percent in the first half, wasn’t really capitalizing off them. The teams shot a combined 5-of-20 on threes in the opening frame, though Minnesota controlled the pace throughout.
Law and Pardon scored a combined 11 first-half points, and, while they weren’t bad, they weren’t superhuman. At this point, Northwestern kind of needs them to be. Miller Kopp provided a spark off the bench in the middle of the first half with seven of his nine points, including two threes in quick succession at one point.
Pete Nance returned to the floor for the first time since Jan. 18 after going out with a sickness, and he looked out of sorts. He didn’t score, had three fouls and turned the ball over twice in 22 minutes. He also looked lost defensively several times in the first half.
Imagine thinking last season was rock-bottom for the program.