Purdue Basketball 2011
Purdue Boilermakers vs Minnesota Golden Gophers Basketball Recap
Purdue 73, Minnesota 61
The Purdue Boilermakers got their revenge. The Minnesota Golden Gophers were reminded of the limitations of their big men.
Order has been restored in West Lafayette, Indiana. Playing on Saturday afternoon before a home crowd at Mackey Arena, Purdue avenged a loss to Minnesota earlier in the season and whacked its Big Ten rival by a dozen points. The contest marked a stark reversal from a Jan. 13 date in Minneapolis when the Gophers dictated the pace. Just over two weeks later, it was the Boilermakers who carried the play in a clear-cut case of role reversal.
In Minnesota’s win, the Gopher guards surprised Purdue’s backcourt. Minnesota’s Blake Hoffarber went off for 26 points in the Jan. 13 game, torching the Boilers from all spots on the floor. Coach Tubby Smith’s Golden Gophers got out in transition and beat the Boilers down the court. Purdue was flat-footed on defense, a sure-fire way to lose a conference encounter.
One week later, though, the shoe was on the other foot. Purdue did the running this time, and Minnesota couldn’t keep up.
The difference in the game – which was close throughout the first half – emerged after halftime. Purdue led by a 29-26 score at the break but immediately made its presence felt at the offensive end. Coach Matt Painter’s pupils outflanked and outmaneuvered Minnesota by getting good floor spacing and putting its guards in position to succeed. Lewis Jackson hit 3 of 4 3-pointers while reserve guard Ryne Smith came off the bench to hit for 15 points in difference-making effort for Purdue. The Jackson-Smith combo, as well as it shot the ball, also handled the rock quite deftly. The two guards handed out a combined total of 8 assists while surrendering only two turnovers. The efficient and purposeful ball movement displayed by the Boilers left Minnesota’s defense stuck in quicksand. Purdue scored 44 points after the intermission and was so effective on offense that Minnesota trailed by at least 10 points throughout the final 11 minutes of regulation. Purdue’s guardplay was amplified by the fact that the Boilers hit 10 of 23 treys on Saturday; meanwhile, Hoffarber – the shooting specialist in the Minnesota backcourt – managed just 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
It really was that simple: Everything Minnesota did to Purdue on Jan. 13 was shoved back in its face this time around. A Purdue team chastened by its ugly 23-point loss at Ohio State on Tuesday was motivated from the word go. As a result, the Boilers affirmed their hold on second place in the Big Ten and held out at least a tiny bit of hope that league-leading Ohio State might eventually tumble.
However, one should not pay too much attention to Ohio State for the time being. Purdue should be happy that it righted a wrong and blotted out one of the few stains on its slate. Minnesota upended Purdue in last year’s Big Ten Tournament before winning a few weeks ago in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Now, Purdue can say that the Golden Gopher whammy exists no more. The Boilermakers are back on the train tracks and can tackle the rest of their season with a slightly clearer frame of mind.
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