March 9, 2013
The Boilermakers (15-16, 8-10) won for only the third time in seven games as they head into next week's Big Ten tournament.
For Minnesota (20-11, 8-10), it was another dreadful day on the road. Forward Trevor Mbakwe got into early foul trouble and the Golden Gophers looked flat as they fell into an early 15-point deficit. They never recovered.
Andre Hollins scored 24 points, Rodney Williams added 13 points and Mbakwe finished with six points and 10 rebounds after playing fewer than five minutes in the first half. Minnesota lost its third straight to the Boilermakers and its eighth consecutive road game.
How bad was it?
Minnesota missed seven of its first eight shots, found itself in a quick 20-5 hole and never got closer than seven again.
For the Gophers, it was yet another inexplicable performance outside The Barn.
Byrd, one of two seniors playing his final regular-season home game, produced his best scoring total of the season inside Mackey Arena. Purdue topped the 75-point mark for only the second time since Nov. 16 and finished with a season-high point total on a day that Boilermakers coach Matt Painter picked up career win No. 200.
Purdue delivered one of its best performances of the season on a day Minnesota got nothing right.
In addition to the poor start and Mbakwe's foul trouble, the Gophers made more 3-pointers (four) in the first five minutes of the second half than they did the entire first half (three). Their patented pressure didn't work, their powerful rebounders got outplayed and other than the one quick second-half charge to cut the deficit from 44-27 at halftime to 53-46 with 14:13 to go, Minnesota couldn't even challenge a team that blew a 12-point lead in the final 12 minutes Wednesday against Michigan.
Purdue refused to let that happen again.
So when Minnesota rallied Saturday, the Boilermakers clamped down defensively and scored eight straight points to extend the margin to 61-46.
After Hollins drove in for a layup to end Purdue's run with 10:59 left, the Boilermakers answered with a 9-3 spurt to make it 70-51. Minnesota couldn't get closer than 12 the rest of the way.
Painter needs one more win to tie Ray Eddy for third on Purdue's career victory list with 176.