WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. – Ben Johnson was a Gophers assistant the last time the program won at Purdue during the 2016-17 men's basketball season.

That victory was part of a résumé that got the Gophers into the NCAA tournament.

History repeating itself Thursday night would have been an even bigger boost to the Gophers' NCAA hopes, but an eight-point halftime lead wasn't enough to hold off a late rally from No. 2 Purdue in a 84-76 loss at Mackey Arena.

"There's just one more step we need to take to be one of those top half teams in our league," Johnson said. "Games like this help our guys realize all the details that it takes to win, especially on the road."

The Gophers (15-9, 6-7 Big Ten) fell to 0-13 against ranked opponents in Johnson's three seasons. They were riding high with a three-game win streak earlier this month, but they've dropped consecutive road games after outplaying Iowa and Purdue for 20-plus minutes.

In Sunday's loss against the Hawkeyes, the Gophers built a 20-point lead before falling once leading scorer Dawson Garcia was injured in the second half. Garcia was motivated to return Thursday and finished with a team-high 24 points.

"It killed me to watch that second half at Iowa, not being able to move my leg," Garcia said. "We've got a big-time week coming ahead of us. We've got to rally together. We can't let this snowball and spiral."

After trailing by 11 points Thursday, the Gophers used a 21-5 run to lead 43-35 at halftime. A shocked crowd saw Johnson's team go 9-for-16 from three-point range.

The Boilermakers (23-2, 12-2) struggled with reigning national player of the year Zach Edey in foul trouble in the first half, but they improved to 13-0 at home this season. Edey finished with 16 of his 24 points in the second half, to go with 15 rebounds. He also had eight of his team's 17 offensive boards.

"We were a little bit late on some of our rotations," Johnson said. "But they're a good team. So much in my opinion is pick your poison. You do have to hope some time that they miss."

Gophers guards Mike Mitchell Jr. and Cam Christie barely missed when they combined for 23 points on eight three-pointers in the first half.

"We were just talking about keeping our confidence," Mitchell said. "It's a long season. We know what we bring to the table."

Pharrel Payne's layup made it 45-35 Gophers to open the second half, but they lost some momentum when Johnson was called for a technical foul after arguing a no-call.

Christie's jumper gave his team a 54-48 lead with 15 minutes, 29 seconds remaining, but the Boilermakers used a 15-1 run to take control. Edey had three thunderous dunks during the rally. There was no way to match up physically with the 7-4, 300-pound All-America.

BOXSCORE: Purdue 84, Gophers 76

Big Ten men's basketball standings

Throughout the game, the Gophers threw 6-11, 290-pound reserve Jack Wilson at Edey, but that was only a temporary solution. After Payne picked up his fourth foul, Purdue extended its lead to 63-55 midway through the second half.

The Gophers were scoreless for four minutes until Garcia gave his team a chance down the stretch. He and Elijah Hawkins combined to hit four free throws during an 11-3 run to make it 73-71 with 4:16 to play. Purdue, though, pulled away again by 10 points after Edey's free throws with a minute left.

The best win Johnson had this season came Feb. 6 at home against Michigan State, but being able to compete with Purdue was an even better judge of how far Minnesota's program has progressed.

The Boilermakers entered Thursday with an eight-game win streak and had a margin of victory of 16 points in their past five wins against the Gophers, including by a combined 41 points in two games last season.

"They know we're really, really close," said Johnson, who has home games coming up vs. Rutgers on Sunday and Ohio State in a week. "Their confidence hasn't wavered. And they know how tough this league is."