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#4 Purdue 88, Minnesota 73 - The Hunter Has Awoken

Purdue handles the Golden Gophers on the road behind a career-high night from its point guard.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Minnesota Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The best offense in the country is getting even better, the Purdue Boilermakers went into The Barn and handled Minnesota, 88-73.

It’s hard to have many complaints with a double-digit win on the road in the Big Ten, but Purdue’s early dominance once again faded as their defense struggled to contain Minnesota’s shooters. A near 20 point lead dropped to 7 points in the second half, but Purdue quickly pushed back after the second to last TV timeout and showed why they’re one of the best teams in the country.

Purdue started the game on a tear, making their first 8 field goal attempts, and ignited behind three Purdue starters. Jaden Ivey led all scorers in the first half with 15 points, but it was Zach Edey and Eric Hunter Jr. that were efficiently dissecting the Golden Gophers early, both making their first four field goal attempts.

Edey was too big for the Golden Gophers all game. When he wasn’t finishing hook shots over Gopher defenders, he was drawing fouls and making And-1s at the rim. Four Golden Gopher post players had four fouls, and Edey still finished the game with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 assists.

But nothing was more encouraging for Coach Painter than Eric Hunter Jr.’s continuing to get his groove back. Hunter had a career-high scoring 20 points on just 11 shots, including 4 three-pointers.

It was an impressive performance from the senior who responded to being moved back into the starting lineup.

Not to be out shadowed, Jaden Ivey is still Jaden Ivey. Ivey had a team-high 21 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. His all over the court effort helped Purdue consistently push in transition, and the sophomore attacked the hoop at will against a Minnesota team that couldn’t hang with his athleticism.

Purdue’s perimeter defense was again showed its blemishes. Minnesota matched Purdue’s efficiency from three, knocking down 11 of their 22 attempts.

Payton Willis led the way for the Golden Gophers with 24 points. Jamison Battle had 21 points. Just three Golden Gophers finished in double-digits while 4 of Purdue’s starters finished in double-digits.

Purdue was dangerous from deep, knocking down 12 of 24 and dominated the glass with a 16 rebound advantage. They moved the ball well against a Minnesota team that featured zone and man looks, they had 23 assists on 32 made field goals.

Sasha Stefanovic didn’t hit a three in the first half, but got going in the second. He scored 15 points and had a team-high 7 assists. His third three in the second half was his 200th three-pointer at Purdue. He’s one of just nine Boilers to get to that mark in his career.

Purdue will now host Michigan on Saturday, February 5th.