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Final Juice: Northwestern takes down Minnesota

There’s a problem in Gopher country when the playing who ends up shooting the most in a game is Maverick Ahanmisi.  Ahanmisi got the nod to start at point guard for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, moving Blake Hoffarber to the two-guard.  Hoffarber looked like he couldn’t get an open opportunity all game while Ahanmisi was shot happy along with five critical turnovers.

An up and down game for both teams ended up a win in Northwestern’s column, 68-57.  Michael Thompson and Alex Marcotullio led the way with 18 points each.  Senior Blake Hoffarber only had 5 points, but beefed his stats with seven rebounds and five assists.

But, Wednesday night was really about Northwestern and its seniors, led by Michael "Juice" Thompson.  Thompson, a four-year starter and played in over 120 games, has been the anchor of that squad his entire time.  It was no different Wednesday by leading the entire team in rebounds and points.

The immense amount of three pointers finally paid off for Northwestern down the stretch.  The Wildcats finished 10 for 30 from behind the arc, but the majority of those makes didn’t come until the final 12 minutes of the game.

Junior John Shurna started the tone out right for NU by making a three to begin the game.  But the junior struggled throughout the game, going only five for 14 from the field. 

The bench really led the charge for Northwestern, with an enormous amount of the support coming from Davide Curletti and Alex Marcotullio.  Curletti seemed to be the only Wildcat able to score early on, scoring the first seven of 12 points for the Wildcats.  Marcotullio was the boost the team needed to overtake the Golden Gophers and roared the way back to victory.  He scored a season high 16 points.

Minnesota was up by six at half with Trevor Mbakwe powering his way to a hopeful victory for the Gophers.  He eventually led the Gophers with 14 points and 12 rebounds.  Northwestern cut the deficit to two with only seven minutes to go with a three by Shurna.  After the last 8-minute timeout, the Wildcats snagged the lead from the lowly Gophers. 

After two huge dagger-like three pointers by Thompson, the win was sealed for Northwestern. 

The Gophers return home for Senior Day on Sunday as they face Talor Battle and Penn State.   Both Hoffarber and Al Nolen will be honored. 

Quick notes:


  • Northwestern went six and half minutes without a point; from 2:38 left in the first half to the first TV timeout of the second half.
  • Thompson was 1-9 in the first half.
  • Walk-on Dominique Dawson played 4 minutes for Minnesota.