With the two winless Big Ten teams back in action Wednesday night, it figured to be a quiet night in the conference. This proved to be wrong, however, as both Minnesota and Rutgers gave Purdue and Michigan much more competitive games than most expected.
Let's take a look at the action.
Game of the Night: Purdue Boilermakers 68, Minnesota Golden Gophers 64
Vince Edwards scored a season high 24 points while playing 39 minutes and helping the Boilermakers avoid an upset in Minneapolis. The Boilermakers got off to an early lead, and held it down the stretch to earn a 4 point victory on the road.
As usual, Purdue used their huge height advantage in the front-court to out-rebound their opponent 39-28. This included 11 offensive rebounds for Matt Painter's team. Minnesota was able to stay in the game despite shooting 1-10 from behind the arc and 11-21 from the line.
In a matchup against a team that's winless in the Big Ten, Purdue did what they should do and jumped out to a 9-2 start in this game and controlled most of the first half. Edwards was a big part of the Boilermakers early success in this one as he scored 12 of the teams first 16 points. AJ Hammons was also big for Purdue in the first half as he had 8 points and 2 blocks.
While it looked like Purdue could run away with this one, give the Golden Gophers credit for hanging in the game. Down by as many as 11 in the 2nd half, Minnesota got the game within 1 as they trailed 55-54 with just 6 minutes remaining. Jordan Murphy was a big part of the second half comeback for Minnesota as he scored 12 points in the final 20 minutes.
With the game still hanging in the balance in the final minute, Barry Konate pulled Minnesota within 2 with a layup. After forcing an offensive foul on AJ Hammonds, Pitinos' team had a chance to tie or go ahead with a 3. Carlos Morris ran off a screen toward the top of the key for a catch and shoot to put the Golden Gophers ahead with 20 seconds to go, however Rapheal Davis had other plans. The senior blocked the attempt and Purdue ended up winning the game 68-64.
AJ Hammons added 16 points and 8 rebounds (one without his shoe) for Purdue, while Nate Mason scored 15 points and had 12 assists to just one turnover for Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers remain winless in the Big Ten and will travel to Indiana Saturday. Purdue got a much needed road win, moving to 6-3 in the conference, and will host Nebraska Saturday.
The Wolverines sent Rutgers home from Ann Arbor still searching for their first Big Ten win as they beat the Scarlet Knights 68-57. Michigan got a great floor game out of Zak Irvin, who almost tallied a triple double with 8 points, 12 rebounds, and 8 assists. Freshman guard Corey Sanders was a bright spot for Rutgers as he finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals.
The Scarlet Knights jumped out to an early lead as they scored the game's first 6 points. Eddie Jordan's squad was able to keep the lead for most of the first half, as they held a 20-17 lead after a Bishop Daniels layup with 6 minutes left. Michigan, however, would respond with a 12-0 run over the next 4 minutes to take a 9 point lead.
The Wolverines got a great effort in the first half off the bench from Aubrey Dawkins, scoring 8 straight points for Michigan at one point. Heading in to the second half, the Wolverines had a 34-27, and were able to keep the Scarlet Knights at arms length in the second half.
Michigan killed Rutgers early in the second half with the deep ball as they made 5 of their first 7 from behind the arc, stretching their lead out to as large as 14. The closest the Scarlet Knights would come was 46-41, but John Beilein's team had a double digit lead for the majority of the 2nd half.
Along with Sanders' nice all around game, Mike Williams also had a nice night as he scored 17 points on 6-13 shooting. Duncan Robinson led the Wolverines in scoring with 18, including 4 three pointers.
Michigan will play Penn State Saturday at Madison Square Garden as the first part of a basketball/hockey double header between the two schools. Rutgers will travel to Michigan State Sunday where they will continue their quest for their first conference win.