Minnesota dropped a 65-53 decision to No. 19 Purdue on Wednesday night at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette. With the win, the Boilermakers move into a first-place tie in the Big Ten standings with Wisconsin and Indiana with a 13-2 conference record. The Gophers fall to 17-10 and 7-8 in conference play. Purdue is now 22-6 overall.
Purdue was paced by E-Twaun Moore's 22 points. Dan Coleman finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds, and Lawrence McKenzie tallied a team-high 13 points to lead the Gophers.
Minnesota has still not defeated a ranked opponent on the road while unranked since they beat Michigan State in East Lansing by a 81-75 score on January 19, 1985.
On the strength of stifling defense, Purdue forced Minnesota into just 19 of 53 (35.8%) shooting and was able to hassle the Gophers into 20 turnovers.
Although the Boilers were successful in frustrating the Gophers’ offense, Minnesota was able to address some of the rebounding concerns the team had coming off a win at home against Penn State on Sunday. Minnesota finished Wednesday night’s contest with a 43-29 rebounding edge.
As has been the case on a few occasions this season, Minnesota had trouble putting points on the board in the opening minutes of both halves. Purdue started the game on a 10-2 run and the Gophers were unable to score in the first five minutes of the second half.
After taking the lead briefly at 24-21 in the closing minute of the first half, the Gophers were unable to rebound after the Boilermakers' Keaton Grant made a half-court three-pointer as time expired in the first half to give the Boilers a 29-26 halftime edge.
The Gophers had rallied from an early deficit to go on a 9-0 run in the middle of the opening half. A Blake Hoffarber three-pointer from the right corner gave the Gophers a brief 22-21 lead that was stretched to 24-21 on the next possession by a Spencer Tollackson layup.
The long shot by Keaton seemed to take the wind out of the Gophers’ sails, as the Boilermakers started the second half on a 23-9 run.
Following a trend, Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith leaned heavily on the Gophers’ three seniors on the road on Wednesday night. McKenzie, Coleman and Tollackson combined for 23 of the Gophers’ 26 first half points and 33 of the team’s 53 total points.
Minnesota returns to Williams Arena to play their last regular-season home game when they host Ohio State in a 3:00 p.m. tip on Saturday afternoon.