WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue guard Brandon Newman’s first-half struggles landed him on the bench to start the second half Saturday.
When coach Matt Painter gave the redshirt freshman a second chance, Newman delivered like a veteran.
He scored 21 of his career-high 29 points in the second half, Trevion Williams added 17 points and 14 rebounds and Purdue overcame an early 14-point deficit to blow out No. 21 Minnesota 81-62.
“He wants to be a good player and as a coach, you love that piece of it,” Painter said. “He always responds to failure and that’s kind of the knee-jerk reaction you have with the up-and-down nature of his freshman season. He scored a lot of points tonight and, at times, he carried the load for us.”
Newman wasn’t finished, either.
Less than an hour after going 9 of 14 from the field and 5 of 6 on 3-pointers, he and Jaden Ivey walked back onto the court to take even more shots, in hopes of even better performances.
But Purdue (12-6, 7-4 Big Ten) can’t quibble with the recent results. It has won five of its last six and Painter earned conference win No. 174, tying him with former Illinois coach Harry Combes for No. 8 in league history.
Purdue went 8 of 10 on 3s in the second half after missing all five of its attempts beyond the arc in the first half and Minnesota (11-6, 4-6) couldn’t withstand the physical toll.
“I thought we were playing pretty good defense but they wore us down on the glass and they got to the free throw line,” Golden Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. “We were in a flow offensively in the first half. We were playing pretty good defense and then I think their physicality really grinded us down.”
Liam Robbins scored 15 points and Brandon Johnson had 11 for Minnesota, which fell to 0-5 on the road. The Gophers also have lost five of seven with this one perhaps being the toughest of all.
They dominated most of the first half as they took a 24-10 lead. But the Boilermakers rallied late, trimming the deficit to 35-30 at the half.
Purdue opened the second half on a 10-4 run and then Newman helped them extend the margin to 53-41 with 10:05 to play. Minnesota never got closer than seven afterward.
“He’s always in the gym shooting. So you want these moments for the guys and I’m very happy for him” Williams said. “I’m not surprised at all. He puts in too much work not to have a night like this.”
Minnesota: It looked like the Golden Gophers had finally solved this season’s road woes Saturday. Instead, an inexplicably poor second-half performance doomed them again.
Purdue: After going 0 for 5 on 3-pointers in the first half and 2 for 17 in the first three halves since Sasha Stefanovic tested positive for COVID-19, Newman finally gave the Boilermakers an answer. If Purdue keeps playing like it did in the second half, they’ll be tough to beat.
Minnesota: The Gophers slid four spots in last week’s poll. The descent will probably continue when the new rankings are released Monday — and they could fall the way out.
Purdue: An impressive four-game winning streak had the Boilermakers back in the Top 25 discussion before losing at home last week to Michigan. Saturday’s win should put them back in the mix this week.
Minnesota: Leading scorer Marcus Carr was shut out in the first half and finished with six points and four rebounds. … Eric Curry scored a season-high 10 points. … Robbins also had seven rebounds and six blocks. … The Golden Gophers made four of their first six 3s but wound up 10 or 28.
Purdue: Newman also had six rebounds. … Mason Gillis had 11 points and nine rebounds. … Eric Hunter Jr. finished with four points, six rebounds and seven assists. … Purdue had a 44-27 rebounding advantage. … Saturday’s game marked the 800th played inside Mackey Arena.
Minnesota: Will try to end its road losing streak Thursday at Rutgers.
Purdue: Hopes to pull off a season sweep of Maryland when it visits College Park on Tuesday.
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