Purdue and Minnesota played each other to a draw in the regular season. Purdue won by 10 at Mackey, and the Golden Gophers won by 4 at The Barn.
Their rubber match was set in the United Center as part of the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament and the third game did not disappoint. After Minnesota started strong, and going into the half with 42-39 lead, Purdue went on a run in the second half to take back the lead.
But the Gophers continue to play spoiler to the Boilers season, upsetting Purdue for the second straight time, winning 75-73.
The Boilermakers had their chances late, when Nojel Eastern started to attack the offensive glass and got out into transition. He had 11 points and 6 rebounds, scoring 9 of his points in the second half. He helped Purdue to their first second half lead, after back to back buckets at the baskets followed by a Ryan Cline three off a Matt Haarms hand-off.
But the Boilers best player, Carsen Edwards, continues to struggle with his shot. The junior Edwards finished the game 4 of 17, scoring just 11 points and making just 1 of 8 three-point shots. He also had 6 turnovers.
Edwards looked to injure or re-injure his back in the first half. He was filmed limping into the locker room at one point, but played 34 minutes over all.
Ryan Cline has been carrying the shooting load for the Boilers. He had 14 points and made 4 of his 10 three-point shots, but the rest of his teammates combined to go 2 of 14 from three.
The Boilermakers could not contain Minnesota’s best two players. Jordan Murphy bullied Purdue’s big men on his way to 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Amir Coffey scored 21 points on just 13 shots, making 2 threes, and making it a perfect 3 of 3 on scoring 20 or more against Purdue this year.
Matt Haarms had 16 points and grabbed 4 rebounds. Trevion Williams led the team with 9 boards to go with his 8 points, but couldn’t get any touches late in the game.
The Boilermakers will now look to the NCAA tournament, where the loss today puts any hope of a #2 seed to sleep, and perhaps threatens their hold on a #3 seed in the tourney.
Strong start for Minnesota
Minnesota finished the season shooting just 32.3% from the perimeter, but the Golden Gophers got hot early behind a couple difficult three-point shots by Amir Coffey and three made threes from Gabe Kalscheur. As a team, they were 5 of 9 from three while Purdue, one of the better three-point shooting teams in the country, struggled to find their shot. Purdue went just 3 of 12 from three, led by Ryan Cline who made 2 of 5 in the first half.
Switching Things Up
When Minnesota hosted Purdue in their win at the barn, they doubled Purdue in free throws attempted 36-18. Purdue also missed half of those 18 attempts at The Barn. This time, Purdue started out aggressive, tripling Minnesota’s productivity from the line, getting to the strip 9 times and this time capitalizing on their attempts, making 8 of them. Minnesota attempted and made all 3 of their free throws in the first half.
Aaron Wheeler made quite the first impression with the United Center’s crowd. He knocked down his first shot of the game, an open three from the top, and then made a show of a steal off an errant Amir Coffey pass. Wheeler took it the distance, stepped through a defender, and then threw down a two-handed dunk as part of a Purdue run. Later, he challenged Jordan Murphy baseline, drew contact, and finished with his off-hand on a lay-up before finishing the And-1 at the line.