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Northwestern

Northwestern Buries Golden Gophers

Minnesota v Northwestern

Minnesota v Northwestern (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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The Northwestern Wildcats dominated Minnesota Thursday during the opening game of the Big Ten tournament. The Wildcats only held a two point lead at the break, but exploded to finish the game with a ten point lead.

Michael Thompson scored a tournament-record 35 points and Drew Crawford added 15 Thursday, leading Northwestern to a 75-65 victory over Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

Northwestern (18-12) now faces No. 1 Ohio State (29-2) in the first game of Friday’s quarterfinals.

Minnesota (17-14) has lost 10 of its last 11. The Gophers were led by Trevor Mbakwe with 19 points and Ralph Sampson III with 12.

But it was Thompson who stole the show by breaking the tourney scoring record of 33 set by Purdue’s Brian Cardinal.

The Wildcats turned the game with a quick flurry midway through the second half. It started with Alex Marcotullio‘s 3-pointer, and the 13-1 run ended when Marcotullio put in a layup to make it 55-45 with 8:57 left.

It’s the third time in 18 years Tubby Smith did not win at least one conference tournament game.

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