Northwestern 55

(11-11, 4-6 Big Ten)

Minnesota 53

(16-7, 6-4 Big Ten)

    8:00 PM ET, February 9, 2005

    1 2 T
    NW 17 3855
    MINN 23 3053

    Top Performers

    Northwestern: T. Parker 19 Pts, 1 Reb, 2 Ast, 6 Stl

    Minnesota: V. Grier 32 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Stl

    Northwestern 55, Minnesota 53

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Winning comfortably with time running down, Minnesota was well on its way to another Big Ten victory.

    Problem: Northwestern and T.J. Parker weren't ready to concede.

    Parker scored 19 points, including the go-ahead jump shot with 0.9 seconds left, and the Wildcats stormed back to beat the stunned Gophers 55-53 on Wednesday night.

    Coming off a high screen, Parker dribbled right and pulled up from 18 feet to give Northwestern (11-11, 4-6) its first road win in seven tries this season.

    "I didn't want any passing going on in that last play," Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. "I wanted the ball in his hands."

    When Parker's shot swished through the net, the fourth game-winner of the junior's career, a hush fell over the crowd of 11,209 -- realizing the hit Minnesota (16-7, 6-4) took in the conference standings and in postseason positioning.

    "It was an eye-opener," said Brent Lawson, whose 3-pointer from the corner bounced out with 17 seconds remaining. "Our work is not done. A lot of people have been talking about the NCAA tournament, but we try to stay away from that talk for reasons like this."

    The Gophers led 50-40 with 4:02 left on a dunk by Vince Grier, who with 32 points matched the career high he set in Saturday's win over Wisconsin. Grier, however, drew a technical foul for slapping the backboard on the way down.

    "That was new on me," Grier said, "but hey, that's how the refs called it."

    Though Carmody downplayed its effect, that sequence seemed to get Northwestern going.

    "I think that made a big difference," Parker said. "He's a good player, but I think he's got to be smarter in that situation."

    The Wildcats cranked up their defense over the final four minutes, but Minnesota was equally responsible for the collapse down the stretch with sloppy ballhandling, timid play and three missed free throws. Dan Coleman went 2-for-4 from the line in the final 2:01, and Aaron Robinson was 1-for-2 during that span.

    A 3-pointer by Vedran Vukusic brought Northwestern within 52-50 with 1:11 remaining, and Vince Scott tied it at 53 on a 3-pointer with 44 seconds left.

    Lawson's miss allowed Parker and the Wildcats to set up their final possession.

    "I had a good look," Lawson said. "I think I can make four out of five of those."

    Twisting fast-break layups, pull-up jumpers in the lane, 3-pointers to beat the shot clock -- Grier did it all once again for the Gophers.

    "I don't care about the points right now, man," he said. "I just want to win."

    Minnesota center Jeff Hagen sprained his right ankle in the closing minutes and is day-to-day.

    The Wildcats were sharp at the start, using coach Carmody's Princeton-style offense, a couple of early turnovers by the Gophers and some tough interior defense by Scott and Davor Duvancic to take an 11-2 lead in a little less than five minutes.

    Duvancic's nifty backdoor flip to Vukusic led to an easy layup and a 13-7 edge with 13:02 remaining before halftime. Then Minnesota's defense kicked in, holding Northwestern to just a pair of free throws over the balance of the half.

    The left-handed Grier helped the Gophers build a 23-15 lead, one that was cut to six when Parker's layup with five seconds left ended the Wildcats' drought of nearly 13 minutes without a field goal.

    Proving he's not just a perimeter player, all of Grier's 14 first-half points came in the paint. Leaping high to catch a pass from Robinson, Grier attacked Michael Jenkins and the basket with 8:37 remaining, bringing the ball up and under for a left-handed layup and Minnesota's first lead, 14-13.

    Northwestern, missing center Mike Thompson to a sprained right ankle for the second straight game, didn't go away. The Wildcats, who won their third straight against the Gophers, stayed close enough to make a run after Grier's technical.

    "In the second half, I think everybody woke up," Parker said.

    Minnesota, the Big Ten leader in steals, was beaten a bit at its own game -- turning the ball over 23 times. Parker had six of Northwestern's 17 steals.

    "It's good to see him playing defense again," Carmody said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 55 53
    FG Made-Attempted 22-50 (.440) 15-38 (.395)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-21 (.333) 2-13 (.154)
    FT Made-Attempted 4-7 (.571) 21-27 (.778)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 11 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 9 10

    2004-05 Season

    » Feb 9, 2005 NW 55, @MINN 53Recap