Gophers knocks off No. 15 Purdue
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- At 13.5 points a game, Minnesota guard Nate Mason entered Sunday's Big Ten game at Purdue with a solid but certainly not spectacular scoring average.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - At 13.5 points a game, Minnesota guard Nate Mason entered Sunday's Big Ten game at Purdue with a solid but certainly not spectacular scoring average.
Against the No. 15 Boilermakers, Mason was spectacular, contributing 31 points, six rebounds, 11 assists and two steals in a 91-82 overtime victory in Mackey Arena.
"It was a big win," Mason said. "It means a lot, not only to me but to the young guys. We were just so excited to get the big win. Everybody was locked in, and everybody was focused.
"It was nice to get this win. Coach keeps telling me to be aggressive. The rim got pretty big for me. I just kept shooting, and they just kept falling."
Minnesota used an 11-0 run early in overtime to pull away, and reserve Eric Curry added seven of his 10 points in overtime.
"The whole coaching staff, and every player on the team has always had confidence in me," Curry said. "It was pretty exciting."
Jordan Murphy had 16 points before fouling out as the Golden Gophers (13-2, 1-1 Big Ten) won in Mackey Arena for the first time since Feb. 26, 2005, shooting 49.3 percent (35 of 71), including 5 of 7 in overtime.
But this victory was all about Mason, who was 11 of 18 from the field and 7 of 10 from the free throw line.
"He's a good player," Purdue guard P.J. Thompson said of Mason, who Thompson guarded most the game. "He came out ready to play and had his team ready to play. More than Nate Mason, it was on us. We've got to come out ready to play."
Purdue (12-3, 1-1) had its seven-game winning streak snapped despite getting 28 points and 22 rebounds from Caleb Swanigan, whose layup with 4.6 seconds left in regulation tied it at 73 and forced overtime.
"I think this is a great win," Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. "I don't know when the last time we won here. We deserved it, but we had to go out there and take it. It was great to play well right away and get our confidence going."
Minnesota made its first eight shots from the field, built a quick 17-4 lead and held a 38-35 advantage through 20 minutes when Mason had 13 points and seven assists. Murphy added 11 points and five rebounds.
"Minnesota did everything well early, and they got into a nice rhythm," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "It felt like we were down 10 or 12 at the half, but we were fortunate to be down only three. Their guards played very well, but we made defensive mistakes as the game wore on.
"It's also a real shame that Swanigan gets 28 and 22 and that doesn't lead to a win."
Purdue finished the first half on a 7-2 run to pull to within three points at halftime. Swanigan and Vince Edwards kept the Boilermakers within striking distance, contributing 16 points and seven rebounds and eight points and two rebounds, respectively.
Minnesota took advantage of eight first-half Purdue turnovers, converting those eight mistakes into 11 points.
After their hot start, the Golden Gophers finished the first half shooting 51.6 percent from the field (16 of 31). The Boilermakers shot 41.4 percent (12 of 29), including only 3 of 12 from 3-point range.