Northwestern easy winner, moves into 2nd-place Big Ten tie
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) — Chase Audige scored 24 points and Northwestern beat Minnesota 81-61 on Saturday for the Wildcats’ third straight win.
Their 15th win matched last season’s total for the Wildcats (15-5, 6-3) and moved them into a tie for second place in the Big Ten with Rutgers.
Audige shot 9 of 14 with three 3-pointers. Boo Buie had 21 points with eight assists. Robbie Beran added 14 points.
Jason Battle scored 20 points to lead the Golden Gophers (7-13, 1-9), who have lost five straight. Ta’Lon Cooper added 12 points. Minnesota was without leading scorer and rebounder Dawson Garcia for the second straight game. Garcia has a bone bruise in his right foot. Pharrel Payne returned from concussion protocol and started after missing Wednesday’s loss to Indiana.
Northwestern led 45-28 at halftime after shooting 55% outscoring the Gophers 14-3 off 11 Minnesota turnovers with Audige leading the way with 15 points.
Northwestern led by as many as 25 in the second half after an Audige 3-pointer with seven minutes remaining. The Wildcats finished 52% shooting, made 9 of 20 3-point attempts and had just four turnovers to 15 for Minnesota.
Minnesota had a four-point lead six minutes into the game before Northwestern outscored the Gophers 29-7 over the next nine minutes, including eight straight points by Audige.
Northwestern plays at Iowa on Tuesday. Minnesota is at Rutgers on Wednesday.
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