No. 8 Purdue Vs. Minnesota: Golden Gophers Take Down Boilermakers In The Barn

In search of their ninth straight Big Ten Conference road win, the eighth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers invade Williams Arena in Minneapolis for a showdown with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

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Purdue Vs. Minnesota Final Score: Golden Gophers 70, Boilermakers 67 In Big Ten Takedown

The Barn has claimed another: Purdue’s undefeated Big Ten mark has come to an end at the hands of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. JaJuan Johnson won the shootout with Minnesota’s Blake Hoffarber 29 to 26, but wasn’t quite as efficient then his Gophers counterpart in doing so. Johnson shot a respectable 52 percent, no match for Hoffarber’s 66.6 percent.

Still, it was an imposing all-around game by Johnson, who also led all rebounders with 11. Purdue’s Lewis Jackson and Minnesota’s Al Nolen also wound up in double figures, the only other players to do so.

Minnesota’s on the verge of reentering the rankings if they can pick up some momentum from this home win after a brutal stretch against the elite of the Big Ten. On the other hand Purdue’s early conference run may have been an illusion, as after their next two games, nine of the following 11 are against ranked conference teams.

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Purdue Vs. Minnesota: Golden Gophers Edging Boilermakers At Half, 41-40

The Purdue Boilermakers are seeing a stellar output from their star forward, JaJuan Johnson. He leads all scorers with 18 points, starting the game 4-4 and snagging six rebounds. The next most effective player from Purdue is Terone Johnson, who's five points don't even come close to JaJuan's offensive contributions. On the plus side, the team is shooting well from three, going 6-11 in the first half.

For Minnesota, who made a late run to grab the lead at the half, Blake Hoffarber is shooting a strong 5-7 from the field with a total of 12 points. The Golden Gophers only committed two turnovers in the entire half, showing great ball security. The team as a whole is shooting an incredible 55.4%, and they've been able to get to the line more effectively than Purdue.

The Gophers' big men are impacting the paint, with a total of three blocks in the first period. 

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No. 8 Purdue Vs. Minnesota: Big Ten Brawl In The Barn

GAME NOTES: The Boilermakers, who are 15-1 overall, have posted 10 consecutive wins since suffering their lone defeat to Richmond on a neutral court. Purdue is 4-0 versus league competition, and the most recent triumph came over Iowa last Sunday by a 75-52 final. All four conference victories have come by 13 or more points, proof of Purdue's dominance.

Losses in three of the last four outings have dropped Minnesota to 12-4 after a sensational start to the season. The Golden Gophers fell to 1-3 in Big Ten action with a 67-64 setback to second-ranked Ohio State on the road this past Sunday, but while the outcome wasn't what coach Tubby Smith had hoped for, the effort was certainly strong. Now, Minnesota is back at home where it is 8-1 thus far.

Purdue holds a 95-79 series lead over Minnesota, and has won five of the last six meetings with the Golden Gophers.

Matt Painter, the head coach at Purdue, is fortunate to have one of the nation's truly elite duos in JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore. Johnson, a 6-10 forward/center, is racking up 19.4 ppg to go along with 8.3 rpg and 40 blocked shots. As for Moore, a standout guard, he checks in with 18.8 ppg on the strength of his 42.4 percent shooting from behind the arc. He is also pulling down 6.0 rpg and has handed out 49 assists to go along with 27 steals. Purdue is scoring 76.2 ppg, but the strength of the club is its smothering defense which limits foes to 57.0 ppg on 38.8 percent field goal efficiency. Purdue is outrebounding foes by 5.4 rpg and has forced 269 turnovers. Against Iowa in last Sunday's 23-point win, the Boilermakers forced 16 turnovers and limited the Hawkeyes to 36.5 percent field goal efficiency. Ryne Smith hit 6-of-9 three-pointers and finished with 18 points for Purdue, which got 16 points from Johnson and 11 points from Moore.

Minnesota's duo of Blake Hoffarber and Trevor Mbakwe isn't on par with Purdue's big two, but both Gophers are netting a solid 13.4 ppg. Mbakwe, a 59.7 percent shooter from the field, is also ripping down 10.4 rpg, while Hoffarber has dished out 69 assists. Ralph Sampson rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 10.7 ppg. The Golden Gophers are posting 73.6 ppg while allowing 67.9 ppg to foes, and they are outrebounding teams by over six boards per contest. Mbakwe tallied 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks against Ohio State last Sunday, and Al Nolen added 11 points for the Gophers. Unfortunately, Hoffarber was limited to seven points, and Minnesota turned the ball over 15 times while shooting just 2-of-14 from three-point range. Mbakwe made the news this week for the wrong reason, as he was arrested Monday for allegedly violating a harassment restraining order. The student-athlete sent a Facebook message to an ex-girlfriend who has had the restraining order against him since 2009. Coach Smith called the incident a well-intentioned lapse of judgement and will not suspend Mbakwe, although he may not start this evening.

Regardless of whether or not Mbakwe starts, Purdue will win this game on the road. Johnson and Moore will be outstanding as usual.

GAME NOTES: In search of their ninth straight Big Ten Conference road win, the eighth-ranked Purdue Boilermakers invade Williams Arena in Minneapolis for a showdown with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

FACTS & STATS: Site: Williams Arena (14,625) -- Minneapolis, Minnesota. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Purdue 9-0, Minnesota 8-1. Away Record: Purdue 4-0, Minnesota 1-3. Neutral Record: Purdue 2-1, Minnesota 3-0. Conference Record: Purdue 4-0, Minnesota 1-3. Series Record: Purdue leads, 95-79.

Purdue 80, Minnesota 70

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