The Wildcats couldn’t pull through when it mattered.
Northwestern (15-7, 6-5 B1G) continued its road woes in a narrow 75-66 overtime loss to Minnesota (14-7, 5-5 B1G). It was the second consecutive overtime contest for Northwestern after playing extra time against Purdue on Wednesday.
For the ‘Cats, Boo Buie led the way with 20 points. Ryan Langborg added 16, and Brooks Barnhizer put up a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Leading the charge for Minnesota was Dawson Garcia with 20 points. Cam Christie added 15, and Pharrel Payne scored 14 in addition to his nine rebounds.
After Northwestern won the tip, it went two possessions without scoring. Christie took advantage of a Langborg turnover to give Minnesota a 2-0 lead with an emphatic dunk. Barnhizer put up a layup to tie the game, but Payne responded with one of his own. Barnhizer then hit a stepback shot to tie the game at four, continuing his hot start.
A subsequent Minnesota turnover led to a Ty Berry corner three to put the ‘Cats up 7-4. Then, a Payne dunk and Mike Mitchell Jr. jumper put Minnesota back up 8-7 heading into a media timeout with 14:17 left in the half.
Coming out of the timeout, Barnhizer nailed a three from the left corner to put Northwestern back in the lead at 10-8. Joshua Ola-Joseph missed a three of his own, before Buie drove to the basket to extend the lead. A foul on Ola-Joseph at the 11:48 mark led to another timeout.
Out of the second timeout, Langborg passed it to Matthew Nicholson, who promptly dunked it to continue Northwestern’s 7-0 run. After Barnhizer was charged with a blocking foul, Ola-Joseph made one of his two free throws, and an Elijah Hawkins jumper cut Northwestern’s lead to three. Northwestern turned the ball over, and Hawkins threw up a lob to Parker Fox to make the score 14-13. After Garcia made a layup to give Minnesota the lead, Chris Collins called timeout.
After both sides exchanged turnovers, Langborg drilled a three to put NU back up 17-15. Following a missed three by Mitchell Jr., Buie hit a floater to make the score 19-15. Garcia made a reverse layup for Minnesota to cut the lead to two, and a foul on Blake Preston led to a timeout with 6:51 left.
Langborg and Braeden Carrington both air-balled three pointers before Luke Hunger nailed two free throws for the first score out of the timeout. Langborg then redeemed his previous miss with a three to put the ‘Cats up seven. A Hunger steal resulted in a Berry three to give Northwestern a 27-17 lead heading into a Minnesota timeout at the 3:45 mark.
But, Northwestern struggled mightily out of the timeout. Garcia struck first with 1:50 left, making his layup but missing his foul shot. On the next Minnesota possession, Hunger was called for a foul, and Hawkins made both free throws to make it a six-point game. Buie turned the ball over and Christie capitalized with a huge three to cut the lead to three. Berry then turned the ball over, marking Northwestern’s 12th of the game, and Hawkins drilled a deep three as time expired to finish the half all tied up at 27-27.
Barnhizer had a solid first half as Northwestern’s leading scorer, pairing seven points with seven rebounds. For Minnesota, Hawkins led the way with seven points of his own, coupled with four assists. Northwestern shot significantly better than Minnesota from three and outrebounded the Golden Gophers 18-9, but its 12 turnovers to Minnesota’s five proved to be detrimental, allowing Minnesota to keep the game competitive.
Buie kicked off the second half with a bang, nailing a three to give the ‘Cats a 30-27 lead. Following a Payne layup assisted by a Hawkins rebound, Buie hit his second consecutive three to make the score 33-29. Payne missed both his free throws off a Buie foul, but on Minnesota’s next possession, he converted a layup to put the Gophers within two. Barnhizer responded with his own layup before Hawkins went out with a non-contact ankle injury. Nick Martinelli then made a corner three and a floater to put the ‘Cats up by nine before Minnesota called a timeout with 15:16 left in the game.
After another media timeout at the 15:00 mark, Christie knocked down a three to make the score 40-34. Martinelli turned the ball over, but Carrington missed on two wide open threes. Christie then made another jumper to make it a four point game.
Nicholson turned the ball over, but Hawkins, now back from injury, was called for an illegal screen. Barnhizer drove for a shot but was fouled and made one of his free throws. Mitchell Jr. then nailed a three to make the score 41-39. Nicholson was then fouled heading into an official TV timeout.
Following the break, Nicholson sank both of his foul shots to extend the lead to four. Mitchell Jr. responded with a three to cut NU’s lead back to one, but a Buie three put it back at four. Payne then threw down a dunk over Preston to make the score 46-44, but a Berry midrange jumper gave the ‘Cats 48. Langborg then made a huge three to make the lead seven. Right after, Martinelli was called for a foul for colliding with Hawkins, who had re-entered the game after his injury, leading to a timeout with 6:34 left.
After the timeout, Hawkins hit a floater for Minnesota, but Langborg responded with another three. Hawkins drove for a layup, and a Christie floater made the game 54-50 before a foul called on Garcia led to a pause with just over three minutes remaining.
Buie made one of his free throws following the timeout, but Garcia netted a layup to make it a one-possession game. Buie was called for a blocking foul that sent Garcia to the charity stripe, where he tacked on both shots to cut NU’s lead to one. Garcia was then called for a foul on Buie, and Buie made both shots to render the score 57-54.
With 1:08 left, Nicholson was called for his fourth foul, sending Garcia back to the line where he drained both shots. Barnhizer was then fouled on a drive to the basket, and he made one free throw that put the ‘Cats up by two. Then, Christie drilled a three to give Minnesota a 59-58 lead. Buie went up for a layup that was blocked by Payne. A foul on Hawkins led to two more points off free throws, giving Minnesota a 61-58 lead heading into a timeout with 20 seconds remaining.
Coming out of the break, Hawkins intentionally fouled Buie, sending him to the free throw line. Buie missed the first shot but made the second, trimming Minnesota’s lead to two. Mitchell Jr. tried to inbound the ball, but it bounced off Garcia’s left shoe, giving Northwestern possession again.
Buie inbounded the ball, but Collins called timeout with nine seconds left. Langborg then inbounded it to Buie, who went up for a layup and was fouled by Hawkins. He made his first foul shot to bring the game within one before Minnesota called its final timeout. Following the timeout, Buie drained the second shot to tie the game at 61 apiece. Hawkins chucked up a prayer as time expired, but the shot missed the mark, sending the game into overtime.
Minnesota won the tip to start overtime but did not capitalize. Barnhizer missed a jumper, leading to a Payne layup to give Minnesota a 63-61 lead. Barnhizer then didn’t convert a three, but a Langborg layup tied the game again. Garcia responded with a triple to make it 66-63 Minnesota. A foul called on Langborg sent Garcia to the free throw line, where he made both free throws to extend Minnesota’s lead to five. Soon after, Langborg was fouled by Hawkins, who fouled out of the game, but critically missed both shots.
With 1:08 left, Barnhizer went for a steal but was called for a foul, sending Garcia back to the line where he knocked down both to make it a seven-point game. Berry missed a crucial three for Northwestern, and Nicholson fouled out trying to rebound the ball. Garcia went back to the line, making one free throw. Carrington then fouled Buie, and Buie made one free throw that made it 71-64. A Payne dunk effectively ended things, with Northwestern falling 75-66.
The ‘Cats will return to action and try and snap this losing streak on Wednesday, when they rematch against Keisei Tominaga and his Nebraska Cornhuskers in Welsh-Ryan Arena. The game is set to begin at 8:00 p.m. CT.