Thursday, March 8, 2012

Northwestern makes everyone sad, Purdue rolls along

(Bracket here)

It was a fitting way for Northwestern's dream to end: in heartbreaking fashion.

With its 75-68 overtime loss to Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, Northwestern's hopes of its first NCAA Tournament berth are gone. JerShon Cobb had 24 points and John Shurna had 21 for the Wildcats, but Drew Crawford shot 2-for-11 and seventh-seeded Northwestern was pounded on the glass.

Tenth-seeded Minnesota had 13 offensive rebounds and a 41-24 total rebound edge — and that was without seven-foot center Ralph Sampson III). Gopher guard Andre Hollins scored a career-high 25 points, and three other Gophers scored in double-figures. Minnesota advances to play Michigan at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. Northwestern lost six games against Big Ten opponents by two points or less or in overtime this season — another season that will come up short.

In the final Thursday game, sixth-seeded Purdue shot 56 percent en route to an easy 79-61 win over 11th-seeded Nebraska. Anthony Johnson led Purdue with 17 points off the bench. Five Boilermakers scored in double-figures. Purdue has now won six of its last eight games and scored at least 74 points in six of those games. The Boilermakers advance to play Ohio State around 9 p.m. on Friday night.

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