MBB: Gophers Earn Hard-Fought 63-52 Victory Over Purdue
Minnesota improved 2-0 in the Big Ten for the first time in nine years with a hard-fought 63-52 victory over Purdue this evening at Williams Arena. The Gophers improved to 12-3 on the year and sent off Boilermaker head coach Gene Keady with a loss in his final appearance at The Barn. Minnesota won its 10th straight game and dumped Purdue to a 4-9 record, 0-3 in the Big Ten.
The Gophers were led by junior forward J'son Stamper, who turned in the Gophers' first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. He picked up the slack for Jeff Hagen, who was injured early in the second half, sliding off the floor.
After Minnesota led 28-22 at the intermission, David Teague scored to cut the Gopher lead to four. Minnesota scored the next seven points, capped by a Dan Coleman put back of a Brent Lawson three- point miss to give the Gophers another 11-point lead at 35-24.
After Hagen was cut open his chin sliding off the floor and went to the lockerroom, Purdue took advantage with an 8-1 run to close within four points at 36-32 with 14:24 on the clock. The Gophers would have to go the rest of the way without Hagen but Stamper picked up the slack. He had eight offensive rebounds and kept the offense alive. Minnesota's lead ballooned back to eight at 40-32 but Purdue didn't quit. The pulled back within five twice but the Gophers extended their lead to nine at 51-42 with 5:20 left in the game. An Aaron Robinson slicing layup with 1:37 left put the Gophers up 57-47 to ice the game. The Gophers made four free throws down the stretch.
Trailing 8-4 with 13:50 on the clock, the Gophers went on an 18-3 run to take a 22-11 lead. The Gophers forced 10 Boilermaker turnovers and Rico Tucker had three steals during the stretch. A Brent Lawson cutting layup with 3:47 on the clock capped the run. Purdue went six and a half minutes without a field goal.
Purdue's Gary Ware ended the run with a 15-foot jumper with 3:29 left in the half. The Gophers rebuilt an 11-point lead on a J'son Stamper jumper with 1:35 left but David Teague answered with a three on the other end to make the score 26-18. After the teams traded free throws, Brandon McKnight hit a 12-foot jumper at the buzzer to trim Minnesota's halftime lead to 28-22. The Gophers forced 15 Purdue turnovers in the half and turned them into 19 points but shot just 39 percent from the field (10-26).
Vincent Grier led the Gophers in scoring for the eighth time this season with 14 points. He made 10-of-12 from the free throw line. Robinson added 12 points while Spencer Tollackson had eight.
David Teague led Purdue with 15 points while Carl Landry and Brandon McKnight had 12 apiece.
Minnesota plays its first Big Ten road game of the year on Saturday night at Iowa. The 1:30 game will be televised on KSTC-45.
Purdue Head Coach Gene Keady
"Turning the ball over that much cost us the game. We shot ourselves in the foot. When you are struggling offensively, you need to pass the ball around about 10 times to keep them on defense and tire them out. We were in the game and played we didn't practice all year. These are good kids but if I went through this my first year, I would have been an insurance salesman a long time ago."
"Minnesota showed a lot of guts, a lot of heart and a lot of discipline. Pretty much the things we were lacking. I really liked them on tape. I think their new faces are good fits. Their schedule has not been as tough as ours but they are getting wins which gives them more confidence. They have gotten two Big Ten wins, so who knows, they might start rolling."
Minnesota Head Coach Dan Monson
"I thought our bench gave us a huge lift. Spence was huge in the first half and then held down the fort the rest of the game. We had our starting center out and two bigs with four fouls and Robinson cramping. I thought Coleman and Stamper played with a lot of toughness and didn't worry about their foul trouble. I think tonight showed that any win we get has to be a collective effort."
"I can't say this enough. Brent Lawson is so valuable. Even though he only had six points and three rebounds, he has such a feel for covering up for our guys in help defense. He helped out on the post and I thought he was everywhere on the court."
"Vince is a marked man but he is not going to force 15 shots. He took a couple of early bad shots inside but then he learned he had to work hard against a Purdue defense. He did his damage from the line tonight."
Minnesota guard Aaron Robinson
"Coach has been telling us all year no matter how ugly it gets, we have to grind it out until the horn goes off. Hopefully, we'll be up when it does go off because not all games are going to pretty but we still have to pull them out."
Minnesota forward J'son Stamper
"We knew we had to strike the first blow and basically just work on what we had all week and transfer that to the court. We need to get stops and our offense will