Braden Smith scored 19 points and had seven rebounds and seven assists to lead Purdue to a comfortable 61-39 win over host Minnesota on Thursday night in Minneapolis.
The No. 3 Boilermakers (18-1, 7-1 Big Ten) remained atop their conference and won their fifth in a row while the last-place Golden Gophers (7-10, 1-6) lost for the fourth time in their past five games. Purdue also swept the two-game season series.
While the Boilermakers have been playing numerous nail-biters in conference play, they were never really challenged by Minnesota.
Purdue never trailed in the game, shot 51.7 percent in the first half and held the Gophers to only 5-of-25 shooting during that time to take a 31-12 halftime lead.
The Boilermakers’ lead ballooned to as many as 29 in the second half. Purdue’s outstanding defensive effort limited Minnesota to 31.5 percent shooting (17 of 54) for the game and only 2
for 10 from 3-point range.
For a change, the Boilermakers didn’t need to rely heavily on All-American candidate Zach Edey, who finished with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Edey also grabbed six rebounds and blocked four shots.
Smith kept the ball moving well as Purdue totaled 18 assists.
Joshua Ola-Joseph was one of the bright spots for the Gophers with a team-high 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting.
But the Boilermakers’ defense consistently disrupted Minnesota and contributed to 16 turnovers which led to 16 points for Purdue.
Using its notable size advantage as it did in the first meeting when Edey finished with 31 points and 22 rebounds, Purdue outscored Minnesota 36-26 in the paint and outrebounded the Gophers 41-31.
Caleb Furst led the effort on the glass for the Boilermakers with nine rebounds and added six points.
Purdue returns home on Sunday to host Maryland. Minnesota will travel to Michigan on Sunday.
–Field Level Media