The best remedy for Northwestern's five-game losing streak? A date with bottom-feeding Minnesota.
Things haven't gone well for the Gophers this season, and they played like it Thursday night in Evanston, as the Wildcats shot the lights out en route to a 82-58 blowout win.
Northwestern took it to Minnesota, shooting 53.7 percent on the night — including a scorching 61.5 percent from the field in the second half — hitting a dozen 3-pointers and getting 43 combined points from Tre Demps and Bryant McIntosh.
The Cats were hot from the start, Aaron Falzon hitting back-to-back triples in the game's opening two minutes. Demps added a pair of 3s before five minutes had elapsed, and Sanjay Lumpkin added a triple to make it a 19-8 game early. The offense dropped off significantly from there, but McIntosh added a pair of 3s in the middle of the period and an 8-0 burst to close the half sent the Cats to the locker room with their biggest lead to that point at 14.
Then Northwestern's offense really got cooking in the final 20 minutes, the lead growing to 20 on a McIntosh triple not even three minutes into the second half. McIntosh and Demps went on a 10-0 run a few minutes later, stretching the lead to 27, and it stayed about there for the remainder, hitting 29 on a couple occasions.
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The Cats finished with that sparkling 53.7-percent shooting clip, even more impressive when compared with the ugly 33.3-percent shooting night for the Gophers. Northwestern's 12 triples were three times as many as Minnesota's four. And despite the Gophers visiting the free-throw line 30 times, the Cats had big edges in other categories, scoring 15 points off turnovers and 30 points in the paint.
Demps had 23 points to lead all scorers, also handing out eight assists. McIntosh finished with 20 points and made four 3-pointers. He only had three assists but became Northwestern's all-time single-season assists leader. It was the third time this season both Demps and McIntosh scored 20 points each in the same game.
Jordan Murphy led the Gophers with 14 points. Kevin Dorsey had 11.
The win, the first for Northwestern since Jan. 12, sent the Cats to 16-8 overall and 4-7 in conference play. Next up is a Tuesday trip to Ohio State.
The Gophers have now lost 12 in a row and remain winless in Big Ten play, 6-17 on the season and 0-11 in the league. Next up is a Wednesday game against Michigan.