Coach Matt Painter might have the best big man rotation in the Big Ten and if he keeps getting this kind of production from his centers, he might have the best team.
The 17th ranked Purdue Boilermakers fought back from a double-digit second-half deficit to beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers 73-63.
In the first half, it was Coach Painter’s true freshman center Trevion Williams who was the only one capable of putting the ball in the basket for the Boilers. He had 14 first half points, bullying his way inside on rolls and post-ups.
For Coach Pitino, his young big man, Daniel Oturu, helped take the Golden Gophers into the half with a 28-27 lead, scoring 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting.
If you took those two big men’s contributions out of the game, you were left with an ugly, ugly rock fight. The rest of Purdue’s team shot 6 of 25 in the first half while Minnesota made just 6 of 22 from the floor. The teams combined to shoot 2 of 22 from three.
The Golden Gophers came out in the second half ready to pull off an upset, as Purdue was looking to join Michigan and Michigan St., tied on top the standings.
After an early bucket by Trevion Williams to give the lead back to Purdue in the second half, the Gophers went on a 19-5 tear to go up 13 points. Amir Coffee, 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting, ignited the run and it didn’t look like Purdue had an answer. Until Coach Painter’s other big man entered the game, Matt Haarms, and he breathed life into a Sunday afternoon crowd that looked to be taking it easy before Super Bowl festivities later on. The 7’3 Dutchman ignited the crowd, swatting shots, and finishing at the basket.
He helped spark a 24-4 Purdue run that gave Purdue a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
As Haarms controlled the paint, Purdue’s Ryan Cline started to find his range and Carsen Edwards attacked the basket, getting to the line after Purdue shot just one free throw in the first half.
Ryan Cline finished the day with 11 points, making 3 of Purdue 5 three-pointers, with 3 assists and 1 turnover.
It was another poor shooting performance for Carsen Edwards, he scored 16 points but needed 20 shots to do so, including going just 1 of 9 from three. Minnesota’s athleticism and length bothered him at times. He was forced into 4 turnovers, but found Cline on both his three-point makes in the second half, and had 5 assists to go with 5 rebounds.
But Purdue’s big men were the stars today.
Trevion Williams finished the game with 16 points on 8 of 11 shooting to go with 4 rebounds in just 16 minutes of play.
Matt Haarms was a two-way monster, scoring 15 points on 7 of 9 shooting, and grabbing 8 boards, but it was his defense that set the tone for Purdue’s comeback. Haarms finished the game with 5 blocks.
Purdue is now winners of 7 straight games, and now sit on top of the Big Ten standings with Michigan and Michigan St. They will have the week to rest, with their next game set to be at home against Nebraska at 8:30.