MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Vincent Edwards scored 25 points in 29 minutes on 9-for-14 shooting for fifth-ranked Purdue, and the Boilermakers easily beat undermanned Minnesota 81-47 on Saturday for their 13th consecutive victory.
Isaac Haas pitched in 14 points and five rebounds for Purdue (17-2, 6-0), which produced its best Big Ten start since going 8-0 to begin conference play in the 1989-90 season. This is the fourth 6-0 start in the Big Ten in Boilermakers history. They’re tied for the program’s best record at the 19-game overall mark since 1987-88.
Jordan Murphy had 10 points and four rebounds for the Gophers (13-6, 2-4), who have lost all three games since center Reggie Lynch was suspended and small forward Amir Coffey was sidelined by a shoulder injury. This was the second-largest margin of defeat at home in program history, behind only a 90-51 loss to No. 1 UCLA on Dec. 20, 1968.
After a Thanksgiving weekend stumble in the Bahamas at the Battle 4 Atlantis when they lost by three points to Tennessee and four points to Western Kentucky, Edwards, who shot a combined 7 for 26 in those defeats, and the Boilermakers have bounced back strong.
They began this week with their highest ranking in The Associated Press poll since taking the No. 3 spot on Feb. 22, 2010, a week when they won at Minnesota on a Wednesday and then lost at Michigan State on a Sunday to drop to seventh in the following poll.
Edwards had 20 points by the break and spent much of the second half resting on the bench with the game well in hand. He made four of his five 3-pointers before halftime, as the Boilermakers had their half-court offense humming. They finished with 24 assists and just 11 turnovers.
Carsen Edwards added 14 points and Dakota Mathias scored 12 points for the Boilermakers, who pulled out a 70-69 victory at Michigan on Tuesday night after a go-ahead free throw by Haas with 4 seconds remaining.
The sign that this wasn’t going to be Minnesota’s day appeared almost immediately, when head coach Richard Pitino was whistled for a technical foul just 3:33 into the game. Already angered by an offensive foul called on Murphy 2 minutes earlier, Pitino was livid when Haas appeared to inadvertently hit Gophers point guard Nate Mason in the throat without a whistle. Murphy had to hold Pitino back from charging onto the court.
The Gophers registered their season-low shooting percentage (28.8) for the second straight game. They were outrebounded 46-29.
Purdue: With a perfect record through one-third of the conference schedule, the Boilermakers have established themselves as the top contender for the Big Ten title next to Michigan State. They only play the fourth-ranked Spartans once this season, a road game on Feb. 10.
Minnesota: A season that began with high hopes has swiftly spiraled out of control, a slump triggered by sexual assault allegations against the senior Lynch and the untimely injury to the sophomore Coffey. The top three backcourt players for the Gophers had an abysmal afternoon, with Mason, Dupree McBrayer and Isaiah Washington shooting a combined 6 for 29.
Purdue: Hosts Wisconsin on Tuesday, with the chance to match the program’s longest winning streak in eight years. The Boilermakers won their first 14 games of the 2009-10 season, with the last victory of that streak coming against the Gophers.
Minnesota: Plays at Penn State on Monday, the first of three straight games away from home. The Gophers gave up a home game for the Big Ten’s showcase event in New York on Jan. 20, when they take on Ohio State at Madison Square Garden.