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    Second-Half Surge Lifts #9/13 Minnesota Past Northwestern, 69-51

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Northwestern forward Kale Abrahamson, right, is pressured Minnesota forward Rodney Williams Jr. during the first half. (AP Photo/Andy King)

    NUSPORTSDOTCOM
    Northwestern forward Kale Abrahamson, right, is pressured Minnesota forward Rodney Williams Jr. during the first half. (AP Photo/Andy King)
    NUSPORTSDOTCOM

    Jan. 6, 2013

    Box Score |  AP Photos 

    WATCH: Game Highlights | Postgame Press Conference (AA)

    Site: Minneapolis, Minn. (Williams Arena)
    Score: No. 9/13 Minnesota 69, Northwestern 51
    Records: NU (9-6, 0-2 Big Ten), Minnesota (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten)
    Next NU Event: Thursday, Jan. 10 -- at Penn State (University Park, Pa.), 7 p.m. CT

    MINNEAPOLIS -- Northwestern dictated the tempo through the opening 25 minutes of play, but a strong second-half surge by No. 9/13 Minnesota lifted the Gophers to a 69-51 win over the Wildcats Sunday evening at Williams Arena.

    Reggie Hearn paced NU with 11 points in his return to the lineup after missing the last two games due to injury. Tre Demps and Dave Sobolewski added 10 points apiece. Austin Hollins scored 17 of his game-high 19 points in the second half to lead the Gophers.

    The 'Cats got off to a good start -- particularly on the defensive end -- as following a Minnesota basket to open the game, 3-pointers by Sobolewski and Kale Abrahamson gave NU the early lead.

    The 'Cats maintained the advantage until a bucket by Rodney Williams gave the holds a 9-8 advantage with 11:29 remaining in the first half.

    Northwestern continued to successfully dictate the tempo and Alex Marcotullio's 3-pointer out of the corner gave the Wildcats a 13-11 lead with 4:08 left in the opening stanza.

    Minnesota would score six consecutive points to take a four-point advantage before Sobolewski hit one of two from the charity stripe with 2.0 seconds remaining to make it 17-14 Gophers at the break.

    Northwestern was within 19-18 early in the second period following a layup by Sobolewski, but Minnesota connected on five free throws and Trevor Mbakwe scored on a dunk to extend the Gophers' advantage to 26-18 with 14:21 to go. Two more free throws by Hollins and a put-back by Rodney Williams made it an 11-0 run for the hosts, pushing Minnesota's lead to 30-18.

    Hearn finally ended the run with a three-point play to cut the deficit to nine, but Hollins got hot and nailed five treys in a span of just over three minutes as the Gophers pushed their lead to 45-25 just beyond the midway point of the period.

    The Wildcats would rally to trim the deficit to 12 with just under three minutes remaining, but they couldn't get any closer.

    Northwestern returns to action Thursday as it travels to University Park, Pa., to take on Penn State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Central time.

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