Besides a Rodney Williams alley-oop in the second half, there was nothing pretty about this one.
The Gophers shot 33 percent from the field — 41 percent from the charity stripe — as they fell to Northwestern, 55-48 at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston.
Williams only had seven points for the No. 12 Golden Gophers in a game marred by poor shooting from both sides.
Northwestern, despite shooting 42 percent and 53 percent from the free throw line, was able to capitalize on most of Minnesota’s inefficiencies, pulling out a lead mid-way through the second half that they would maintain until the final buzzer.
Three Wildcats were in double figures, lead by forward Jared Swopshire who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
The Gophers showed they were the bigger and stronger team grabbing 42 rebounds — 17 of them offensively — compared to Northwestern’s 23 rebounds. But the Wildcat’s dictated the pace of the game, forcing 15 turnovers and nine steals.
The breaking point for the Gophers was when Austin Hollins fouled out with 11:49 left in the second half; the starter had six points at that point on 1-for-5 shooting but was the only player on either team that was perfect from the line, shooting 3-of-3.
Andre Hollins had a poor night as he finished with six points and seven turnovers.
Hollins did not shoot a free throw in the game and the team only had 17 attempts from the free throw line compared to 32 attempts from Northwestern.
Forty-eight points is also the lowest scoring game the Gophers have had all season. Their second lowest scoring game was 66 points in a win over Stanford in the Battle for Atlantis.
The Gophers faced Northwestern earlier this season and won 69-51 at Williams Arena.
Minnesota had not lost a game to an unranked opponent all season and the loss extends a losing streak to three games with a trip to Wisconsin on the schedule for Saturday.