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Game Wrap: Purdue 69, Minnesota 73

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With a chance to win the Big Ten, Purdue continues to be haunted in The Barn.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Minnesota Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the process for kicking a state out of the United States? Because I think it might be time to get rid of Minnesota and give it to Canada.

Okay, I kid. Maybe...

The Barn continues to haunt Purdue. Despite some pushes in the 2nd half, one of them to tie the game, Purdue could not overcome a hot Minnesota team playing passionately to get into the tournament on their senior night.

I’m sure people will focus on the last few seconds and whether or not that should have been Purdue’s ball, but either way, Purdue struggled most of the night and loss the game on their own (and almost got bailed out).

Purdue struggled to contain Coffey and Murphy tonight, as they combined for 45 points and 12 for 23 on the floor. While those two dominated the game for Minnesota, Stockman and McBrayer provided good support for the Gophers with 19 combined points

While the fouls were certainly called in Minnesota’s favor, it might not have helped Purdue anyways if they were called evenly. Purdue shot terribly from the charity strip, making 9 of their 18 free throw attempts. Even making half of those missed free throws would have completely changed this game.

Minnesota came into this game with a short bench, as a few of their players were ruled out just beforehand. Despite this, Minnesota’s bench still outscored Purdue 13 to nothing. Williams could not get into a rhythm all night, and quickly got into foul trouble as he struggled to contain Minnesota’s bigs. Purdue’s bench only had 4 field goal attempts (though technically 5 as Stefanovic was fouled on a shooting attempt, but missed both free throws).

Unfortunately for Purdue, Carsen regressed to his previous ways and attempted 31 shots tonight, only making 7 of those. Perhaps a couple of them should have been called fouls, but we know from experience that Purdue tends to struggle when one player is attempting over 45% of their shots. Haarms also struggled tonight, going 1-8 from the floor and splitting a pair of free throw attempts.

The bright spots in this game might be the seniors, Ryan Cline and Grady Eifert. Cline hit a couple threes to help Purdue close the gap at the end, though it was too little too late. Eifert had some good second-chance points, and finished with 13 points. Nojel Eastern also had a good game, going 5-9 with 12 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out late in the game.

In the end, Purdue lost this game on their own. Lazy passes led to most of their 12 turnovers, and many of them came at critical times when Minnesota was building their lead. They struggled to hit wide open shots when they needed it, and one player was taking more shots than he needed to.

Purdue now needs to win on Saturday at Northwestern to win a share of the Big Ten title with either Michigan or Michigan State, as all three are sitting with 4 losses each.