MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Braden Smith had 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to help No. 3 Purdue overwhelm Minnesota 61-39 on Thursday night.
Zach Edey had 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks for the Big Ten-leading Boilermakers (18-1, 7-1), who won their fifth consecutive game after taking their lone loss of the season to now-No. 23 Rutgers on Jan. 2.
Three days after Edey’s short turnaround shot with 2.2 seconds left lifted Purdue to a 64-63 victory at Michigan State, the boys in black and gold gave themselves a breather by smothering the last-place Gophers (7-10, 1-6) from start to finish.
The 7-foot-4 Edey, who had 32 points and 17 rebounds against the Spartans, made his presence felt on the first possession when 6-foot-7 freshman Joshua Ola-Joseph drove in the lane and had his shot deflected.
Ola-Joseph led the Gophers with 13 points. Minnesota’s two top scorers and best players, Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia, shot a combined 3 for 22 from the floor. Garcia had seven points, and Battle went scoreless.
Minnesota didn’t have a match for Edey like so many teams, but Purdue won this game on the perimeter on both ends of the court. The Gophers didn’t crack the 10-point mark until Taurus Samuels banked in a top-of-the-key jumper and drew a foul with 40 seconds left in the first half for a three-point play that cut the lead to 31-12.
That was the lowest-scoring first half for Minnesota since at least 2009-10, according to available data from Sportradar. The final score was also a low for the Gophers in at least the last 14 seasons.
The Gophers, who are already playing without forwards Parker Fox and Isaiah Ihnen due to season-ending knee injuries suffered during preseason activity, will be without backup freshman guard Braeden Carrington for a month because of a stress reaction in his right leg. The university announced the injury prior to the game. Carrington is averaging 6.2 points and 22.0 minutes.
Purdue: Four of the five wins during its current streak were on the road, another promising sign for a stacked team that aims to give coach Matt Painter his first trip to the Final Four after several opportunities over his previous 17 seasons at the school fell short. The Boilermakers have never won an NCAA men’s basketball championship, but if they’re going to do it, the time is right with the consensus favorite for national player of the year in Edey.
Minnesota: Battle has struggled to find his rhythm all season after an excellent debut in 2021-22 following his transfer from George Washington. The preseason All-Big Ten pick had his best game of the season at Purdue on Dec. 4 with 21 points on 5-for-10 shooting from 3-point range, but this was his second straight game with single-digit scoring — a first for his Gophers career.
Purdue: Hosts Maryland on Sunday.
Minnesota: Visits Michigan on Sunday.