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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.
Minnesota won its 10th straight game, which is the longest win-streak under Dan Monson. The 10 wins marks a tie for the Minnesota's second-longest win streak in the modern era.
Minnesota is 2-0 in Big Ten play for the first time under Monson and the first time since 1996-97 (including vacated games).
Minnesota's 12-3 record is the second-best through 15 games under Monson. Minnesota was 13-2 in 2000-01.
Purdue owns a 90-72 all-time series record with Minnesota (including vacated games).
This was the final game at Williams Arena for Purdue's Gene Keady. He has a 12-12 career record at the Barn.
Dan Monson is 5-6 all-time against Purdue.
Minnesota is 6-0 on Wednesday this season.
Minnesota has won nine in a row at Williams Arena.
The 52 points by Purdue is the fewest by a Big Ten opponent in a regular season conference game since Northwestern had 51 on 2/27/02. Minnesota won the game 69-51 at Williams Arena.
J'son Stamper recorded Minnesota's first double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Stamper reached double-figure points and rebounds each for the second time this season.
Vincent Grier has scored in double-figures in each game this season (15-game streak).
Grier tied a career-high with 10 made free throws. He also attempted a career-high 12 free throws.
Grier led Minnesota in scoring for the eighth time this season. Aaron Robinson scored in double figures for the sixth time this season and the ninth time in his career.
Rico Tucker had a career-high five steals.
Brent Lawson recorded his 100th career assist.
Dan Coleman tied a career-high with eight rebounds.
Minnesota's bench posted a 24-6 scoring advantage in the game. Minnesota owned a 23-7 points off turnovers edge.
Minnesota is 10-1 when leading at the half.
The Gophers are 12-1 when out-rebounding the opponent.
Purdue Head Coach Gene Keady
"I think when you have six new people on your team, on the road, in the Big Ten, it's a different world. Minnesota is going to find that out real quick. I think our kids lacked three things tonight. First off, heart. Minnesota got all the loose balls. They were diving all over the floor. Second, we lacked discipline. We can't have people skying up, trying to block shots every time down the court. Third, this time lacks a love for each other. They lack enthusiasm. We are not making the extra passes to the open men. But I blame me. I'm the teacher. I'm the coach. I'm not getting through to them."
"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 have been preaching all week that this is toughness week. No matter what Purdue's record is, we had to match their will to win. I was pleased with our effort and toughness. This game was very similar to every Purdue-Minnesota game that I have coached since I started here. As tough as we had it on offense, they were struggling too because of our defense. I thought we got way too aggressive towards the end but I am pleased with the win. Like I have said, it's one day at a time with this team. I reminded them at halftime that we need to win the ugly ones."
"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
"It was a lot of fun out there. It was real physical and coach prepared us for that all week. He knew it was going to be a tough one. He said that whoever was a tougher team was going to win. It was great for us to come out on top."
"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
"It was real physical out there and coach prepared us all week with what he called "toughness week" because we knew we had Purdue and Iowa coming up. So we prepared for it that way because each game is going to be tough."
"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