With the Gophers hopes of an NCAA tournament bid hanging in the balance, stifling defense ensured they wouldn't leave Evanston with a tougher task than when they came in, beating Northwestern 54-48.
Sitting tied with the Wildcats and Purdue coming into the evening with a 5-7 record in the Big Ten, Minnesota needed a victory with three of their final games against ranked teams.
Trailing by three at the half, Minnesota put the clamps down defensively, holding the Wildcats to just two field goals in the final 10 minutes of the game, none coming from the 7:10 mark to 10 seconds remaining in the contest.
The classic Big Ten black and blue, low-scoring matchup saw Minnesota hold Northwestern leading scorer Drew Crawford to two points on just 1-of-15 from the field, the Wildcats shooting just 30 percent from the floor on the game. Outside of Jershon Cobb, who led the Wildcats with 23 points, Northwestern made just eight field goals.
Offensively, the only scorer in double-figures for Minnesota was Deandre Mathieu with 18 points, but the Gophers, despite a lack of tremendous individual performances, shot a workmanlike 46 percent from the field in the win.
Minnesota is now 6-7 in the conference, and they return to the floor Wednesday at Williams Arena against Illinois.