Gophers men’s basketball gameday
8 p.m. vs. No. 21 Purdue • Williams Arena • BTN, 100.3-FM
Gophers (6-14, 0-8 Big Ten): Minnesota led Illinois by five with 2:03 left Saturday at home, but allowed the Illini to charge back to tie the score. The Gophers then flubbed the last possession, forcing overtime. The Gophers were held without a basket for 3:53 in the extra period as Illinois cruised ahead on a 13-2 run, ultimately winning 76-71. Sophomore Nate Mason scored 19 points, one game after putting up 25. The 44 total points were the most he’s scored in back-to-back games in his career. Minnesota, which has lost 12 of its past 13, managed to convert only six of 12 free-throw attempts and is shooting 64.4 percent from the line in the past three games. The night marked the 10th time this season the Gophers have shot worse than 40 percent from the field. They are last among Big Ten teams in shooting at 40.2 percent in league play. Wednesday’s game marks the first time the Gophers have played consecutive home games since the start of the Big Ten slate.
Purdue (17-4, 5-3): The No. 21 Boilermakers are coming off their second loss to now-No. 3 Iowa this season, this time 83-71, after reeling off four wins in their past five games. Purdue was outscored 50-38 in the second half after Iowa launched a 26-6 run. Purdue, the nation’s fourth-tallest team with two 7-footers and a 6-9, 250-pound forward, is ranked first nationally in rebound margin (plus-12.2 per game), fifth in field-goal percentage defense (37.2) and fifth in scoring margin (plus-17.1 points). Junior wing Kendall Stephens didn’t make the trip to Iowa because of personal reasons, including the recent death of a friend. Coach Matt Painter told reporters on Sunday he had “no idea” when Stephens will return. His 37 three-pointers lead the team, but the Boilermakers have six other players who have made at least 16, a Purdue first.