Minnesota (13-7, 5-4) only lost the lead once throughout the entire game en route to a 90-68 victory over No. 25 Purdue (15-5, 7-2) this afternoon at Williams Arena. The Golden Gophers completely dominated the Boilermakers by shooting 53 percent from the field in handing them just their second Big Ten loss of the season. Minnesota has now won four of their last five games.
With a crowd of 13,923 behind them, the Maroon and Gold were able to hold Purdue's starters to just 34 points forcing them to rely on their bench for offensive power. The Golden Gophers shot a blistering 48 percent from three-point range on 10-of-21.
Sophomore Rick Rickert led the way tying his season-high 26 points going 11-of-19 from the field. Rickert's 26 points earned him his 700th career point and marked the 11th time he has scored 20+ points in his career. Michael Bauer added 17 points and four rebounds. Ben Johnson added 15 points and Jerry Holman 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.
The Golden Gophers started the game off with a 10-3 run until Purdue went on a 13-3 run to take a two-point lead at the 9:41 mark. Minnesota regained the lead at the 6:00 mark with a layup from Johnson. Eight straight points from Johnson and a three-pointer from Rickert pushed the Golden Gophers ahead of the Boilermakers by seven with 3:29 left in the half.
With a dunk from Holman at 2:59, the Gophers had the momentum they needed to finish the half with a 38-25 lead as the buzzer sounded to end the half.
Minnesota's starters were strong from the field in the first half with a total of 27 points versus seven from Purdue's starters. Purdue's bench stepped up pitching in 18 points, while the Golden Gophers bench also came out strong with 11 points, eight from Johnson.
The Golden Gophers opened a 54-32 lead with 15 minutes left in the game off a Bauer trey but Purdue made its last substantial run to close the score to 58-47 on a David Teague three-pointer. The Golden Gophers quickly regained the momentum with a 6-0 run. The lead swelled to 22 points three more times by the end of the game.
The Maroon and Gold took advantage of the turnover-prone Boilermakers throughout the game by scoring 30 points off 18 turnovers.
Willie Deane was the leading scorer for Purdue with 15 points and eight rebounds. David Teague added 12 points for the Boilermakers.
Next up for the Golden Gophers is long-time rival, Iowa on Wednesday, February 12 at 7:00 p.m. in Williams Arena.
Purdue leads the all-time series 89-71 (including games later vacated by Minnesota due to NCAA infractions). Minnesota leads the series 47-31 in Minneapolis. Minnesota is 3-4 against Purdue under Monson...Minnesota is 7-17 against ranked teams overall and 7-6 at home under Dan Monson. Minnesota is 2-3 against ranked teams this season...Minnesota has won four of its last five games and four straight at home...Minnesota is 50-15 at Williams Arena under Monson... Rick Rickert scored 20+ points for the 11th time in his career and the fifth time this season. Minnesota is 10-1 when Rickert tops the 20-point mark for his career... Rick Rickert reached double figure scoring for the 12th straight game and the 16th time this season. He has 38 career double figure scoring games...Rickert scored his 700th career point in the second half...Rickert tied a career-high with 11 made field goals...Minnesota's 13-point halftime lead is its largest in Big Ten play this season...Minnesota ended the first half on a 16-5 run over the last 3:40... Kevin Burleson moved second all-time at Minnesota with 138 career three-pointers. He trails just Sam Jacobson (173)...Burleson moved into second all-time in career assists with 377...Burleson moved into seventh all-time with 134 career steals (ties Voshon Lenard)...Burleson scored his 800th career point in the game... Michael Bauer scored in double figures for the 15th time this season and the 47th time in his career... Ben Johnson scored in double figures for the fourth time this season and the first time since 12/13 against Fairleigh Dickinson... Jerry Holman had four blocks, his most since swatting five against Arkansas-Little Rock on 12/10...Holman moved into 10th all-time in career blocks with 79, tying him with Willie Burton...Holman scored in double figures for the fifth straight game, 11th time this season and 23rd time in his career...Minnesota had a season-best 25 assists...Minnesota shot a Big Ten season best 53 percent from the floor (35-66). The Gophers have shot 50 percent or better in four of the last five games (Minnesota is 4-1 in those games)...Minnesota's 90 points is the most Purdue has allowed this season (previous high was 84 by Louisville on 11/30)...The 90-68 win is the second-largest margin of victory in a Big Ten regular season game under Monson. The largest is a 94-70 win over Penn State on 1/30/02...Minnesota's 90 points is the most since scoring 104 against Fairleigh Dickinson on 12/13.
Minnesota Head Coach Dan Monson
"As a coach, you have to be pretty proud of your team when you didn't see it coming. You worry about teams and kids that are kids, how they are going to react to you pushing buttons. But they felt what I said and reacted to it how they did. In the first half, we didn't play great the first 10 minutes, but we shoved it to them the next 20. The game plan was executed well. They concentrated even when they were struggling."
"The key was playing defense and rebounding better. I'm happy for our guys. I want them to succeed. We have half of a season to go - this is a good way to start."
On guard Ben Johnson
"You could see his confidence mounting during the game. He had an offensive aggressiveness to him. I know he was frustrated with his playing time and his role. As a competitor, he just got to a place where he said forget it, I'm just going to play. I couldn't be happier for him."
On the defensive energy
"We feed off of defense. I told the team this before the game that in every Big Ten game, Purdue has had great runs on everyone. At some point, they've broken every team with their offensive firepower. In the first half, I was real pleased that we didn't let them do that."
Gene Keady - Purdue Head Coach
"Well, I don't have much to say. They played great, they shot the ball well, they were pissed and they came out to play today. I have always said that to play in this league all your guys need to be motivated. I just wonder why my guys can't be motivated in every game. I know Dan wants his guys to be motivated, and I want my guys to, and his guys were today. Our big players had a tough time holding on to the ball. We just kept losing it."
"Rickert was great today. I have always thought he was a very talented young man. There energy was a lot bigger than ours. We aren't able to win if we don't have that energy and take care of the ball."
Minnesota Guard Ben Johnson
"Our win today really shows the strength of our confidence. For two straight weeks the first place team in the Big Ten has came in here and we have beaten them. It is so tough to win on the road in this conference, know matter who you play. We needed to defend our home court today."
"The biggest difference between today and Wednesday's game, was our energy level. The starters came out today and really got us going. The bench was able to keep it up."
"I always know I am capable of scoring. I just haven't had many opportunities the last few games. It just feels good that I found my stroke again."
Minnesota Forward Maurice Hargrow
"Our backs were against the wall. At this point in the season we could either go forward and play our way into the NCAA tournament or go backwards and settle for the NIT again. We definitely believe we will be in the NCAA tournament. To accomplish that we needed this win bad."
"It feels good to knock off the first place team in two straight weeks. But we cannot celebrate too long. We need to come back in on Monday and be ready for Iowa because that game is just as important as this one."