Johnson Leads Boilermakers Past Gophers, 73-61

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Johnson's 24 Lead Purdue To 73-61 Win Over Minnesota

(Sports Network) - JaJuan Johnson scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds to push 12th-ranked Purdue past No. 16 Minnesota, 73-61, at Mackey Arena.

Ryne Smith came off the bench to supply all 15 of his points in the second half while Lewis Jackson contributed 13 points, five boards and five assists for the Boilermakers (18-4, 7-2 Big Ten), who bounced back from a 23-point loss at Ohio State on Tuesday.

The Boilermakers won their 13th straight home game overall and their fifth in a row as the host over Minnesota by winning the battle on the boards, 37-32.

"I think Minnesota is one of the best, if not the best rebounding team, in our conference," Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. "We've been able to outrebound them in both games and that was the key stat in today's game."

Trevor Mbakwe scored 17 points and hauled in 12 rebounds while Blake Hoffarber chipped in with 14 points for the Golden Gophers (16-5, 5-4), who had won four in a row and five out of their last six coming in.

"We have to go back and make sure we do the things we have to do to get the guys ready to play," Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith said. "It's only one game. We have to come back to this state next week and play Indiana, so we don't have a lot of time to dwell on this one."

Leading 37-31, Purdue scored 11 of the next 14 points to stretch the margin to 14 with 13 1/2 minutes to play. Johnson hit four foul shots and a jumper during the run.

Minnesota never got closer than nine the rest of the way in falling to 2-4 on the road.

Johnson scored the last four points of the half to give Purdue a 29-26 edge at the break. The two teams were not separated by more than five points during the first 20 minutes.

Game Notes

Johnson went 8-for-13 from the floor and 8-of-9 at the line...He moved past Glenn Robinson into 10th place on Purdue's all-time list with 615 field goals. Johnson also moved past Cuonzo Martin into 12th place on the all-time scoring list with 1,677 points...He has scored in double figures in 31 straight games and scored 20 or more in six straight...E'Twaun Moore added nine points and seven boards in the win...Mbakwe connected on 8-of-14 shots...Minnesota made 3-of-9 from beyond the arc in comparison to Purdue's 10-of-23...The Gophers had won the first meeting in the season series, 70-67, on January 13.

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Gophers Look To Sweep Boilermakers In West Lafayette

FACTS & STATS: Site: Mackey Arena (14,123) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: CBS. Home Record: Minnesota 11-1, Purdue 11-0. Away Record: Minnesota 2-3, Purdue 4-3. Neutral Record: Minnesota 3-0, Purdue 2-1. Conference Record: Minnesota 5-3, Purdue 6-2. Series Record: Purdue leads, 95-80.

GAME NOTES: Ranked foes in the Big Ten Conference meet in West Lafayette today, as No. 16 Minnesota tangles with No. 12 Purdue.

Since going 1-3 to start Big Ten play, the Gophers have won four in a row to sit at 5-3 in conference and 16-4 overall. Their most recent win occurred at home over a pesky Northwestern squad on Wednesday night, as Minnesota won by double figures after trailing by a point at the break. Sporting a 2-3 record in true road games this season, UM is hoping to actually record its second straight win on enemy hardwood after notching a 69-64 victory at Michigan last Saturday.

Purdue has dropped three of its last five games to fall to 17-4 overall and 6-2 in conference. The team's most recent outing took place at No. 1 Ohio State on Tuesday, and resulted in an embarrassing 87-64 defeat. Still, the Boilermakers should play with confidence today knowing that they have won all 11 games played at home thus far.

Purdue owns a 95-80 advantage in the all-time series with Minnesota, but the Gophers have won the last two meetings. The two teams met earlier this month in Minneapolis, with the home team prevailing in a 70-67 final.

Blake Hoffarber scored 20 points to lead five players in double figures, as Minnesota got past Northwestern earlier this week in an 81-70 final. Trevor Mbakwe put forth a monster effort, netting 18 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, while Colton Iverson (15 points, six rebounds), Ralph Sampson III (14 points, five boards) and Austin Hollins (10 points) had solid outings as well. The Gophers shot 46.4 percent from the field, but missed nine of their 11 three- point attempts. Northwestern knocked down 12 three-pointers, but did so on 39 attempts (.307), while shooting just 37.9 percent from the floor overall. Hoffarber and Mbakwe are the two most productive players for UM this year, averaging 14.1 and 13.4 ppg, respectively, with the former handing out 4.4 apg and the latter coming up with 10.5 rpg. As a team, the Gophers are putting up 73.3 ppg on 47 percent field goal efficiency, while permitting 67.3 ppg on 39.2 percent shooting.

JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore were at it again for Purdue in its recent clash with top-ranked Ohio State, netting 22 and 16 points, respectively. Unfortunately they got little help from their teammates as the Boilermakers lost by 23 on the road. The Buckeyes put six guys in double figures, shooting 55.2 percent from the field and draining 11-of-19 three-point tries, while Purdue made good on just 38.1 percent of its total shots and was outrebounded by a 42-28 margin. Johnson (20.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and Moore (18.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.4 apg) are as productive a duo as there is nationally, and the Boilermakers would likely be Big Ten bottom feeders if not for the big two. Collectively, Purdue is averaging 74.5 ppg in hitting 45.5 percent of its field goal attempts and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc. Defensively, the team yields just 60.7 ppg behind typical shooting outputs of 41.4 percent overall, and 34.0 percent from long range. Favorable margins in both rebounding (+2.9) and turnovers (+4.9) have helped the cause as well.

With revenge on their minds, expect the Boilermakers to ride Johnson and Moore to victory in what should be a close game throughout.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 72, Minnesota 66

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Hoffarber Leads Gophers Past Northwestern, 81-70

(Sports Network) - Blake Hoffarber posted 20 points as No. 16 Minnesota downed Northwestern, 81-70, at Williams Arena.

Trevor Mbakwe added 18 points with a game-best 14 rebounds for the Gophers (16-4, 5-3 Big Ten), who won their fourth straight contest.

Michael Thompson poured in 18 points and seven assists for the Wildcats (13-7, 3-6), who have dropped two in a row. John Shurna had 16 points with eight boards and Drew Crawford scored 15 in defeat.

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Gophers Hope To Keep Hot Streak Going Against Wildcats

The Sports Network

By Andrew Sclight, Associate College Basketball Editor

FACTS & STATS: Williams Arena (14,625) -- Minneapolis, Minnesota. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Northwestern 9-2, Minnesota 10-1. Away Record: Northwestern 3-4, Minnesota 2-3. Neutral Record: Northwestern 1-0, Minnesota 3-0. Conference Record: Northwestern 3-5, Minnesota 4-3. Series Record: Minnesota leads, 89-58.

GAME NOTES: The 16th-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers aim for a fourth straight win as they return to Williams Arena Wednesday in continuing a tough Big Ten Conference slate against the Northwestern Wildcats.

Minnesota won for the fourth time in five games Saturday in a tough road test against Michigan. The Wolverines went ahead midway through the second half courtesy of a 12-2 run but Minnesota responded with a 10-3 spurt to gain the lead for good and hold off the hosts in the final minutes for a 69-64 triumph. The Golden Gophers shot 63.4 percent from the floor in the win and had to rally without the services of senior guard Al Nolen, who suffered a broken bone in his right foot in the first half and is out indefinitely. Helping to pick up the slack in a team effort was Ralph Sampson III and Trevor Mbakwe, who both tallied 13 points and eight rebounds. Blake Hoffarber contributed 12 points, six assists and five rebounds, while Rodney Williams hit a pair of clutch three-pointers to finish with 10 points.

Northwestern had a stretch of four wins in five games before being handled at home Saturday by No. 18 Wisconsin in a 78-46 final. The Wildcats held their own early on before the Badgers' offense found a groove with NU senior point guard Michael Thompson on the bench after picking up two quick fouls. Wisconsin shot 62.1 percent from the field over the opening 20 minutes to take a 45-26 lead into intermission. It was more of the same in the second half as Northwestern struggled to find its shot. Luka Mirkovic and John Shurna each had 13 points to lead the 'Cats.

Minnesota holds an 89-58 lead over the Wildcats in the all-time series dating back to 1909. The season series has been split the last two years with both teams winning on their respective home floors on each occasion. The Gophers are 53-18 versus Northwestern in Minneapolis.

The Wildcats were beat at their own game against Wisconsin, which sank 12- of-26 from three-point range compared with NU's 2-of-10 showing. Northwestern is a prolific three-point shooting team with 173 thus far in 2010-11. Collectively, the 'Cats connect on 39.8 percent of their attempts from long range. The junior Shurna leads the Big Ten in three-point percentage at 54.0 percent with 47 triples and is tied for third place in the conference with a 19.2-point average. Thompson averages 13.9 points per game and is also second to Shurna with 43 three-pointers. Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year Drew Crawford checks in at 12.8 points per contest with 31 threes, while the 6-11 center Mirkovic adds 9.2 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds. Overall, Northwestern averages a robust 76.5 points per game on 47.4 percent shooting. Opponents are limited to 67.8 points but still shoot a healthy 46.0 percent from the field and own a plus-2.4 edge on the boards (33.5-31.1).

The Golden Gophers have a balanced unit that features four double-figure scoring threats. The senior Hoffarber leads the way with 13.7 points per game and Mbakwe posts 13.2 points and a Big Ten best 10.3 rebounds per contest. Devoe Joseph averages 11.2 points and Sampson adds 10.6 per game to go with 5.6 rebounds and 42 blocks. Nolen was key to the Gophers' depth with an 8.4- point per-game average, contributing to a healthy 72.9 points per game overall. Minnesota shoots 46.7 percent from the field and 33.4 percent on threes. Hoffarber tops the roster with 49 triples and shoots 39.8 percent from beyond. The Golden Gopher defense is also a source of pride, with teams shooting just 39.3 percent from the field and averaging 67.2 points. Minnesota owns a plus-6.4 margin in the rebounding department, averaging nearly 40.0 per game (39.7-33.3).

Minnesota figures to continue its recent run through a tough Big Ten slate, even without Nolen. Northwestern has the ability to surprise teams with an explosion from the three-point game, but the Gophers are a much more well- rounded team and have already proved plenty resilient this season.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Minnesota 71, Northwestern 65

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