Ben Johnson entered Sunday's Big Ten opener with his Gophers basketball team shorthanded in the absolutely worst possible position, going up against Zach Edey, fifth-ranked Purdue's physically imposing 7-4, 290-pound center.

Starting 7-foot center Treyton Thompson didn't make the trip to West Lafayette, Ind., because of an illness, so that meant even fewer fouls to use against the early favorite for national player of the year.

After making it tough early on the Boilermakers, the Gophers eventually became another Purdue opponent that was dominated inside by Edey, who had 31 points and 22 rebounds in the U's 89-70 loss at Mackey Arena.

Edey, who leads the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding, drew 11 fouls and became the first Division I player in 25 years to outrebound (22-21) and outshoot an opponent on free-throw attempts (10-8) in a game, according to

"He just puts so much foul trouble on your defense," Johnson said in the postgame radio show. "You can't scheme what he does. It's impossible. You look who he does it against, whether it's Duke, Gonzaga or us tonight his numbers speak for themselves."

The Gophers (4-4), who plays host to Michigan on Thursday, suffered their third consecutive loss and haven't won their opening Big Ten game since 2017-18.

The Boilermakers (8-0) used a 15-0 run to pull away behind Edey's 16 points and 12 rebounds in the opening half. They outrebounded the Gophers 25-10 and held them to 2-for-13 shooting from three-point range in the first half.

Jamison Battle scored a team-high 21 points on 5-for-10 shooting from three-point range. Ta'Lon Cooper finished with 15 points and eight assists, but it was how overmatched the Gophers were in the paint that made the biggest difference.

Thompson's absence meant going smaller at first with freshmen Joshua Ola-Joseph (6-7) and Pharrel Payne (6-9) in the middle. Ola-Joseph had success offensively with 10 points, but he had three of his four fouls in the first half.

Payne held his own physically for as long as he could against Edey, who started 1-for-7 from the field. The 255-pound Cottage Grove native even blocked Edey on one possession. But that seemed to just motivate the massive junior from Toronto to take over the game, including a dunk on Payne. Ola-Joseph, Payne and Dawson Garcia were all in foul trouble.

"We did get off to a pretty good start," Johnson said. "But they do such a good job getting him the ball that it's just a matter of time. He's one of the best I've seen getting your bigs in foul trouble. That's hard to overcome."

Jaden Henley's jumper cut the deficit to 21-15 with 8:22 left in the first half, but the Gophers went through a scoring drought that also plagued them in losses to UNLV and Virginia Tech.

Back-to-back three-pointers from Fletcher Loyer and Brandon Newman, followed by Edey's put-back, extended Purdue's lead to 22 points at one point and to 42-27 by halftime. Loyer and Newman ended with 20 and 13 points, respectively.

In the second half, the Gophers were able to make it an 11-point margin even with Garcia picking up his third foul 45 seconds into the period. Braeden Carrington's layup got it within 72-59 with 5:39 to play, but the Boilermakers ended any comeback hopes with an 8-0 run.

Garcia, who finished with six points in 24 minutes after experiencing flu-like symptoms earlier in the week, fouled out with 1:43 to play. Edey went to the bench for good following his two free throws for an 85-64 lead.

The Gophers, already without forwards Parker Fox and Isaiah Ihnen with season-ending knee injuries, gave up 44 points in the paint and were crushed on the boards 41-21 at Purdue.

The schedule won't get any less daunting with the Gophers facing two more opponents led by frontcourt standouts. The Wolverines will come to the Barn with 7-1, 260-pound center Hunter Dickinson on Thursday, followed by Mississippi State's 6-10, 245-pound Tolu Smith on Sunday.

The Star Tribune did not send the writer of this article to the game. This was written using a broadcast, interviews and other material.