Evanston, IL – Jared Swopshire totaled 16 points and eight rebounds as Northwestern upended No. 12 Minnesota, 55-48, at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Reggie Hearn had 13 points and Tre Demps added 10 for the Wildcats (12-8, 3-4 Big Ten), who were coming off an eight-point home loss to Indiana.
"It wasn't unlike our first game (at Minnesota), that we were down three at half and they were killing us on the backboards," said Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody. "We just talked about it at halftime so that's what we wanted to do- we wanted to make sure that we didn't get beat off the backboards. In the second half I know it was a lot better, it didn't seem like they were punishing us on the backboards."
Trevor Mbakwe totaled 14 points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Gophers (15-4, 3-3), losers of three straight after winning 11 in a row.
"I have to really compliment Northwestern. I am very impressed with their gutsy effort, their toughness, something that I thought we really didn't show tonight. We didn't seem to have the focus that we should have had," said Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith. "Obviously, playing on the road against a team that's really playing with some limited people hurt, we had a full compliment of players, so we had no excuses. We found a way to lose, but a lot of it had to do with Northwestern."
The visitors led 34-27 on a Mbakwe free throw with almost 4 1/2 minutes gone in the second half, but the Wildcats awoke with a game-deciding 18-5 run.
Swopshire hit a bucket then Alex Marcotullio was good from long distance to pull the hosts within two. Hearn's layup and free throw forged a 37-37 deadlock, and after a Rodney Williams slam, Marcotullio connected once more from long distance to give Northwestern the lead for good at 40-39.
Demps completed the surge with a trey followed by two from the line and it was 45-39 with 6:27 remaining.
Joe Coleman's jumper made it a four-point spread, but layups from Alex Olah and Swopshire quickly provided an eight-point bulge.
The Gophers only managed to get within four once more, after a three-pointer by Andre Hollins with 35 seconds remaining for a 52-48 contest, but Hearn salted away the victory with 3-of-4 from the line down the stretch.
Minnesota led 5-2 early on, but Northwestern struck back to lead 11-8.
The Gophers roared back to go up 18-14 on a layup from Mbakwe, and the visitors' lead bulged to 27-19 on a Mbakwe's three-point play coming with 4:50 left in the half.
Northwestern responded with the final five points of the half and trailed by three at the break.
Northwestern has won five in a row at home over Minnesota, but the Gophers still own a sizeable 93-62 edge in the all-time series ... Coleman finished with eight points and eight boards in defeat ... Neither team shot well from the charity stripe as the hosts connected on just 17-of-32 and the visitors made only 7-of-17.