Jan. 8, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS - Purdue made 10-of-12 first-half three-pointers to build a 15-point halftime lead and then fought off a late rally by Minnesota to post a 79-66 Big Ten victory on Sunday evening at Williams Arena.
The Boilermakers (13-4, 3-1) made their first six attempts from beyond the arc and took a 47-32 lead into the locker room at the half. Minnesota held Purdue without a field goal for a stretch of 6:13 late in the second half, cutting a 67-50 deficit to 68-61 with 4:22 remaining, but dropped its fourth-straight Big Ten game.
Junior forward Rodney Williams led Minnesota (12-5, 0-4) with career-highs of 19 points and 14 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double, while freshman guard Joe Coleman added 14 points, six rebounds, and three steals in his first career start for the Gophers. Sophomore guard Chip Armelin was the third Minnesota player in double-digits, making 5-of-7 field goals to finish with 12 points off the bench.
But the Boilermakers had four players reach double figures, led by Lewis Jackson's game-high 20 points. D.J. Byrd, who had 15 points in the opening half, finished with 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc, while Robbie Hummel had 13 points and seven boards for the Boilermakers.
Purdue built an early 9-6 lead with its proficiency from long-range. Ryne Smith made his first two attempts from beyond the arc and Hummel added a third for the Boilermakers, who entered the game shooting 35.8 percent from three-point range this season.
Byrd made Purdue's fourth-straight trey to give the Boilermakers a 13-8 advantage, before Andre Hollins answered with a three of his own for the Gophers.
But Byrd added two more threes as part of an 8-3 run to stretch Purdue's lead to 21-14, and Hummel and Smith each connected to put the Boilermakers up 27-18. Overall, Purdue made eight of its first 10 threes, while connecting on just one its first 11 attempts inside the arc.
The Gophers were able to stay within striking range by shooting well from three-point range, as well. Minnesota made its first four attempts from beyond the arc, and was 4-of-5 in the first half. Williams scored five points to key a 7-2 spurt by the Gophers to pull within 29-25.
But, following a dunk by Williams that cut it to 35-30, the Gophers were outscored 12-2 to close the half, as Purdue built a 15-point advantage at 47-32. Byrd started the run with back-to-back treys from well beyond the arc, and finished the half with 15 points.
Behind its sizzling 83.3 shooting from three-point range, Purdue finished the first half 18-of-32 (.562) overall. Minnesota made 13-of-23 (.565) field goals, but the Gophers turned the ball over seven times, which led to 13 points for Purdue.
The teams traded baskets for the first four-plus minutes of the second half, with Purdue still leading by 16 points, 55-39, before Andre Hollins made a pair of free throws and Coleman scored on a layup following a steal to cut Purdue's lead to 12 points with 15:08 left.
But Jackson scored on a pair of layups, sandwiched around a jumper by Terone Johnson to extend the Boilermakers' lead back to 18 points, 61-43, with 14:01 remaining.
Minnesota cut Purdue's lead to single digits, 68-59, on a dunk by Williams with 5:08 remaining, and Coleman drove the lane for a finger-roll to cap an 11-1 run and pull within seven points.
But the Boilermakers were able to fend off the Gophers' rally, and extend their lead back to double digits to win their fourth straight game.
Next up for the Gophers is a trip to nationally-ranked Indiana on Thursday, Jan. 12. Tipoff at Assembly Hall in Bloomington is set for 7:00 p.m. (CT), and the game will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.
--By Michael Molde, GopherSports.com
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