Hoffarber made 10-of-15 shots and stood toe to toe with Purdue's All-American candidate JaJuan Johnson, who scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Boilermakers (15-2, 4-1 Big Ten).
Purdue was looking for a 5-0 conference start for the first time since the 1989-1990 season. The Boilermakers were done in by E'Twaun Moore's rough night. The star guard made only 2-of-14 shots for five points.
Nolen dished out eight assists and Minnesota (13-4, 2-3) held on despite not scoring in the final three-plus minutes.
An up-and-down contest, rare for Big Ten play, broke out during the opening 20 minutes. Purdue kept pace despite a 1-of-8 showing from Moore thanks to Johnson's 18-point effort. He scored the team's first nine points with his shot in the lane opening an early five-point edge.
Neither team jumped out to a big lead with Minnesota holding a 38-35 advantage after Trevor Mbawke's slam with just under 2 1/2 minutes to play. The Golden Gophers clung to a slim 41-40 lead at the half with Hoffarber pacing the home team with 12 points.
Hoffarber's jumper gave the Golden Gophers a 53-45 lead early in the second half, but Johnson helped carry the visitors all of the way back. His two free throws capped nine successive points for the Boilermakers, who inched in front, 54-53.
Back-and-forth Johnson and Hoffarber went with Johnson's three-point play putting the visitors in front, 57-55, before Hoffarber's mid-range jumper tied the game. Johnson and Moore then made consecutive buckets for a four-point margin.
Minnesota tallied the next six points and the two teams again traded blows, with a Ralph Sampson III hook shot and high-arching jumper from just inside the arch sandwiching two Johnson free throws for a 67-65 Golden Gophers lead. Nolen's trey moments later erased a tie game with just over three minutes to play.
After four consecutive double-digit scoring games, Ryne Smith scored just three points for Purdue...Jackson scored 15 points in defeat...Purdue still leads the all-time series, 95-80...Purdue saw its eight-game road conference winning streak snapped. The Boilermakers also saw their 10-game road winning streak come to an end.