EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Amir Coffey tied a career high with 32 points and set one with 12 rebounds to lead Minnesota to a 62-50 victory over Northwestern on Thursday night.
Coffey gave the Golden Gophers (18-11, 8-10 Big Ten) the lift they needed after they dropped six of seven to jeopardize their NCAA Tournament hopes. They also snapped a six-game road losing streak.
Coffey matched a high for points he set against Nebraska in December and easily surpassed his previous best of seven rebounds. The 6-foot-8 junior made 12 of 19 shots overall and 3 of 6 3-pointers.
Last-place Northwestern (12-16, 3-14) has lost nine straight and is on its worst streak since dropping 10 in a row during the 2014-15 season.
Dererk Pardon had 16 points and 13 rebounds. Vic Law scored 13, but the Wildcats continued to close in on their second straight losing season since making the NCAA for the first time.
They hoped returning to a renovated Welsh-Ryan Arena after playing home games last season in Rosemont, Ill., would restore the buzz surrounding the program. But with three games left, they will go into the Big Ten Tournament with a losing record.
Coffey scored 15 in the first half as Minnesota grabbed a 32-20 halftime lead. But he was about the only one clicking for either team in the early going.
Coffey scored seven points during a 10-0 run, nailing a 3 from up top before Gabe Kalscheur buried one from the corner to make it 28-14 with 4:13 left in the half.
Minnesota: Coffey will need some help with tough games left against No. 14 Purdue and No. 17 Maryland.
Northwestern: The Wildcats continue to sputter since beating Indiana at home on Jan. 22. They shot 34 percent overall and were 7 of 24 on 3-pointers.
Minnesota: Hosts Purdue on Tuesday.
Northwestern: Visits Illinois on Sunday.
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