Golden Gophers down Northwestern
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Austin Hollins nailed five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 19 points to lead ninth-ranked Minnesota to a 69-51 triumph over Northwestern on Sunday at Williams Arena.
Rodney Williams followed with nine points and five rebounds, and Andre Hollins added seven points for the Golden Gophers (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten), who have won 10 straight and improved to 10-0 at home.
Reggie Hearn paced Northwestern (9-6, 0-2) with 11 points, while Dave Sobolewski and Tre Demps donated 10 points apiece in the setback, the Wildcats' third in their last four games.
"Minnesota has some good shot stoppers, so in order to beat this team at their arena we had to knock down some shots, and we weren't really able to do that until late in the game when we were down 20 points," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said.
Neither team led by more than four in a low-scoring first half that found Northwestern holding a 13-11 edge after an Alex Marcotullio 3-pointer with just over four minutes left in the stanza.
Minnesota quickly countered with a 6-0 surge to pull ahead before Sobolewski split a pair at the free throw line late in the opening frame to send the Wildcats into the locker trailing by just three, 17-14.
Hearn opened the second half with a layup to cut the deficit to one, but the Gophers responded with a 13-2 run to build some separation.
Joe Coleman sparked the surge with a jumper before Williams capped it with a tip-in to make it 30-18 with 13 minutes left in the game.
Hearn answered with a three-point play to trim the margin to single digits, but Austin Hollins connected on all five of his 3-pointers over the next three-plus minutes to provide Minnesota with a comfortable 45-25 advantage with under nine minutes to play.
"That was crazy, man," Williams said of Hollins' 3-point barrage. "We all know that Austin is capable of that at any time. It came at a really crucial moment, too, so we were happy to see that."
Minnesota cruised from there, never allowing the visitors to get closer than 13 the rest of the way.
Minnesota leads all-time series, 93-61 ... Williams now has 1,005 career points at Minnesota, making him the 38th player in school history to cross the 1,000-point threshold ... Minnesota shot 47.9 percent (23-for-48) from the field and held Northwestern to 38.5 percent (20-for-52) from the floor.