Chase Audige scored 24 points and Boo Buie dished eight assists to go with 21 points to help host Northwestern rout Minnesota 81-61 on Saturday in Evanston, Ill.
Northwestern (15-5, 6-3 Big Ten) stretched its winning streak to three games while matching the program’s victory total from last season.
Minnesota (7-13, 1-9) lost for the fifth time in a row despite a strong game from Jamison Battle, who scored 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
The rest of the Golden Gophers were 13 of 32 from the field as Minnesota shot 45.5 percent.
Minus leading scorer Dawson Garcia, who missed his second straight game with a bone bruise, Minnesota struggled to find a rhythm offensively. The Golden Gophers shot 45.5 percent in the first half but committed 11 turnovers.
While the ball protection was better after the break, with Minnesota turning the ball over just four times, the visitors were unable to recover from a sizable early deficit the Wildcats maintained throughout the afternoon. Northwestern took a 45-28 lead into halftime.
After a Joshua Ola-Joseph jumper put the Golden Gophers ahead 11-7 with 14:09 left in the first half, Northwestern seized control by scoring 16 of the game’s next 18 points. The Wildcats led by as many as 19 in the first half and 25 after the break.
Robbie Beran scored 14 points for the Wildcats, who shot 51.7 percent.
Audige reached the 20-point mark for the fifth time this season. He finished 9 of 14 from the floor and made 3 of 6 shots from 3-point range. Buie scored eight straight points for Northwestern in the closing minutes.
Ta’lon Cooper followed Battle with 12 points for the Golden Gophers and had a team-high five assists. Will Ramberg scored eight points and led the team with seven rebounds.
The Golden Gophers’ Pharrel Payne cleared the concussion protocol and returned to the lineup for the first time in six days, scoring three points in 17 minutes.
–Field Level Media