Minnesota turnovers. Purdue missed free throws. Questionable calls both ways. An upset Pitino. Two overtimes.
So a regular night of Purdue basketball.
Marcus Carr was incredible for 40 minutes for little Richie Pitino’s Golden Gophers, scoring 27 points, and Daniel Oturu was his usually brilliant self, scoring 29 points and grabbing 18 rebounds, but Purdue time and again came back from a late lead in regulation and then overtime by forcing turnovers and scoring second chance points and survived Minnesota, 83-78.
For most of the night, Marcus Carr was unstoppable. He knocked down shots off the dribble. He drove to the hoop, finishing through and around contact, and showing himself as one of Big Ten’s best guards. But when Purdue shifted Nojel Eastern onto him, the junior point guard used his size and length to remind the Big Ten that he’s scoring anti-matter. He kept glued to Carr, forcing difficult shots, and closing off driving lanes. Carr had a chance to end it in regulation for Minnesota but his mid-range jumper was heavily contested by Eastern and had no chance of going in.
For Purdue, the big man unit of Matt Haarms and Trevion Williams played big minutes together, especially late, just to try and counteract the best big man in the conference, Oturu.
While Oturu was a single dominating present inside, Haarms and Williams were too big too often for the Gophers. They combined for 39 points and had 9 rebounds a piece.
It wouldn’t have been enough though if it weren’t for some timely forced turnovers and some big shots from Sasha Stefanovic who is continuing to light Mackey Arena on fire. He hit a big time corner three to tie the game in regulation with 15 seconds left, and then hit the go-ahead three-pointer in the second overtime on a difficult moving three. He had 17 points for the game, making 5 three-pointers.
Purdue will feel lucky getting out of this one with a win. Their defense stepped up and their shots from outside continue to fall, but Purdue ability to bully on the inside is the consistent offense Painter’s squad need.
Eric Hunter Jr. continues to be a star stepping into the light, scoring 16 points to go along with 8 rebounds.
Purdue’s gonna need this win because they now leave for an absolute horror fest of a road trip, with Illinois coming up Sunday and road games against Michigan and Maryland in the coming weeks.
Purdue is now 9-5 on the year and 2-1 in the B10.