Craig Moore slammed the ball in frustration and yelled at a teammate as they headed to a timeout, his frustration boiling over in the early going. By the end, he was all smiles.
Moore hit six three-pointers and finished with 22 points to lead Northwestern over No. 18 Minnesota 74-65 Sunday for its first win against a ranked opponent in nearly three years.
"We knew we were capable," Moore said. "We just had to finish it."
Long a Big Ten doormat, the Wildcats (9-6, 1-4) have hinted that better days are coming. They had not beaten a Top 25 team since a three-point victory over then-No. 18 Iowa on Feb. 8, 2006. They had dropped 26 of 27 Big Ten regular-season games, including their first four this season after going 1-17 in the conference a year ago.
Yet, there they were, going on a 16-0 run early in the second half to grab a 10-point lead and knocking off a Minnesota team that had done nothing but exceed expectations in Coach Tubby Smith's second season. The Golden Gophers' only other loss was to Michigan State. So what happened Sunday?
The Gophers (16-2, 4-2) simply stumbled — particularly in the second half — after winning at Wisconsin for the first time in nearly 15 years on Thursday. Northwestern also switched its defense, going from a matchup zone to a 1-3-1, in the second half.
Lawrence Westbrook scored 18 after pouring in 29 against the Badgers, and Devoe Johnson added 14. But 19 turnovers and 34.5 percent shooting in the second half did in the Gophers.
Smith called it an "attention-getter" for his team, and it was for Northwestern, too.
"They're going to win a lot of games, Northwestern," Smith said.
No. 4 Connecticut 76, Seton Hall 61: A.J. Price scored 23 points to lead the host Huskies to their fifth Big East win since losing their conference opener to Georgetown. Price had 14 points at the half, helping UConn to a 16-point lead.
Hasheem Thabeet added 15 points, 17 rebounds and four blocked shots for UConn (16-1, 5-1 Big East). Jeff Adrien had 13 points and 12 rebounds, the senior's 40th career double-double.
No. 15 Xavier 73, La Salle 53: B.J. Raymond scored 16 points, hitting long shots over La Salle's switching man-to-man and matchup zone defenses, and the Musketeers relied on their first-half defense and overall balance at home.
Xavier (15-2, 4-0) has won six in a row since a home-court loss to Butler on Dec. 23, with its freshmen blending in better as the season goes along.
No. 23 Villanova 76, St. John's 57: Donte Cunningham scored 17 points, Dwayne Anderson had a season-high 14, and Antonio Pena added 12 for the Wildcats (14-3, 2-2 Big East), who set a team mark with their 24th straight home-court victory.
Kentucky Wesleyan 81, Missouri-St. Louis 69: Lorenzo Taylor and Maros Zuffa scored 15 points apiece to lead five players in double figures for the host Panthers (11-3, 4-3 Great Lakes Valley Conference). T.J. Smith added 14 points and seven assists for Wesleyan.
Hogs freshman arrested
Arkansas freshman forward Brandon Moore was suspended indefinitely after an arrest Sunday on charges of drunken driving and other offenses.
Moore, 19, was stopped by a campus police officer at 1:51 a.m. after she noticed his vehicle crossed a double-yellow line to pass another vehicle, according to campus police records. The officer said Moore smelled of alcohol and told her he had been drinking.
Coach John Pelphrey would not comment on Moore's arrest but said Moore would remain on the team.
No. 6 Auburn 70, Arkansas 61: Senior guard DeWanna Bonner scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the Tigers remained unbeaten with a victory at Arkansas.
Former Fairdale standout Ceira Ricketts finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for the Razorbacks, what athletic officials suspected was the first triple-double performance in Arkansas history. Her 12 assists also tied a school record for most assists in a conference game.
No. 18 Vanderbilt 75, LSU 67: Christina Wirth scored 15 of her team-high 17 points in the second half, and reserve forward Chanel Chisholm added a career-high 15 to help the Commodores win at home. Former Louisville Christian guard Merideth Marsh added 10 points for Vandy, which is 3-0 in the SEC for the first time since 2000-01.
No. 12 Maryland 96, Virginia Tech 79: Kristi Toliver scored a season-high 29 points, hitting a career-best eight three-pointers to lead host Maryland. Lexington Catholic graduate Nikki Davis had 10 points, six assists and five steals for Virginia Tech.
Kentucky Wesleyan 61, Missouri-St. Louis 50: Candace Garrett, out of Muhlenberg North, scored a game-high 18 points, and the Panthers won at home. Danielle Roe added 11 points, five rebounds, five assists and two blocks.