INDIANAPOLIS -- Lawrence Westbrook scored all 14 of his points in the second half and Minnesota defeated Northwestern 66-53 on Thursday in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
Ralph Sampson III had nine points, six rebounds and five blocks for the Golden Gophers (22-9).
Kevin Coble scored 21 points for Northwestern (17-13), but just two in the second half. Craig Moore, the team's No. 2 scorer during the regular season, finished with eight points on 3-for-16 shooting.
The Wildcats had won three of four, including a victory at No. 24 Purdue, and they felt they needed a win over Minnesota to make a strong case to the NCAA selection committee for a chance at an at-large berth. Instead, they shot 33 percent in one of their worst offensive games of the season.
Minnesota advanced to play top-seeded Michigan State in the quarterfinals Friday.