The Boilers had a dominant performance against the Gophers on the road in a 63-39 drubbing
1 | Ta’Lon Cooper vs. Purdue Guards
Even though all of Minnesota’s roster had an issue getting going as the entire team shot only 31.5% for the entire game but not allowing a shooter like Cooper to get going kept this game out of the question. At times this season Purdue has allowed teams to get back into games when holding leads, like losing their 13 point leads to Michigan State and Nebraska, but this game showed Purdue learned some lessons from earlier games. Cooper ended with just 4 points on 2-7 shooting even though he played 38 minutes.
The offense started off well but struggled around the 12:44 minute mark and went into a 3 minute scoring drought when they held a 14-5 lead. In that timeframe though, the Boilers only allowed the Gophers to score one bucket and didn’t allow them back into the game after dominating that first portion of the first half. The defensive effort to not let guys start hitting shots while the offense needed to grind out some possessions to get back on track is going to be key.
Advantage: Strongly Purdue
2 | Who Guards Zach Edey?
Well, Minnesota went with largely the same approach that Michigan State used and tried to go one-on-one most of the time against Edey. They did double at times which caused Zach to have a couple turnovers and lose possession through jump balls but he largely did a good job of staying patient and making smart passes. The issue is that referees continue to allow him to get absolutely beaten up through huge contact across his arms as he is trying to shoot. Yes, he is strong enough and big enough to continue his action through that contact but it doesn’t mean there aren’t fouls there. Michigan State dared the referees to call a foul every time Edey had the ball and banked on using Izzo’s influence and the referees not wanting to slow the game by calling so many fouls and that is what they got. Minnesota got the same treatment as Purdue, one of the leading free throw shooting teams in the country, only got to the foul line three times. Minnesota shared in that experience by only getting to the foul line four times. Just another abysmal performance by B1G referees.
Advantage: Strongly Purdue but the referees continue to embarrass themselves
3 | Purdue Offensive Rebounding
Purdue grabbed 9 offensive rebounds on the night and was able to turn that around into only 5 second chance points. Purdue shot the ball well and the missed shots they had largely occurred near the rim which doesn’t lead to a lot of offensive rebounding chances. Purdue took 16 threes and hit 7 of them. It seems the chances were not there to really dominate the offensive glass but Purdue did grab more of them than Minnesota (9-7).
Well, I did call for Purdue to find the gas pedal and a 61-39 victory seems like a lot of gas and no brakes. Purdue slowed down the pace for the last 5-6 minutes of the game or Purdue could have scored 70 or more points. Purdue did a great job containing Garcia and Battle, which are really the only players Minnesota has that can hurt an opponent like Purdue. This game was largely over by the 8 minute media timeout in the first half.