Boilers Hold off Gophers in Mackey

Boilers Battle Gophers in Mackey

written by: Jeff Robison

photos and videographer by: Tony Harper/Excel H Sports/Indiana Sports Network

Late in the year, bubble teams are always seeking that signature upset against their best opponents as they try to edge their way into a tournament berth.  The Minnesota Golden Gophers had the desire, but ultimately top-ranked (Excel H Sports) Purdue had the might, as the Boilermakers collected an 84-76 home victory on Thursday night.

Purdue opened the night as if coach Matt Painter had it already scripted.  Purdue popped for the game’s first seven points, while Lance Jones’ trey rang loudly with the Boilermakers seemingly on their way with a quick 16-5 advantage.

Photo by: Tony Harper/Excel H Sports/Indiana Sports Network

But Purdue fell out of synch in the first half after Zach Edey went to the bench with his second foul.  Minnesota hung around, but was unable to crack the Boilermakers defense, and the Gophers found themselves still down eight, 30-22.

Finally, Minnesota’s three-point shooters started connecting.

Minnesota scored six of its next eight baskets from outside the arch, with Dawson Garcia giving the Gophers their first lead of the night at 33-30 and finishing a 13-0 run with a fast break dunk by Joshua Ola-Joseph.

Photo by: Tony Harper/Excel H Sports/Indiana Sports Network

Three pointers from Braeden Carrington and Mike Mitchell yielded Minnesota’s eight-point advantage that the Gophers took to the locker room at halftime.

Photo by: Tony Harper/Excel H Sports/Indiana Sports Network

Purdue reset after the break and changed momentum early with an 8-0 run.  Punctuating the run was a technical foul called against Minnesota coach Ben Johnson, followed up by Braden Smith hitting from long range.

Photo by: Tony Harper/Excel H Sports/Indiana Sports Network

The Boilermakers would have to wait a bit to finally take the lead back 55-54    via a feed from Mason Gillis to Edey.

Stock Photo by: Tony Harper/Excel H Sports/Indiana Sports Network

Mason Gillis, the glue to the Boilermakers, from New Castle, Indiana did not disappoint, as he exhibited staunch defense throughout the game on the Gophers top volume shooters and had yet another solid line of five of nine field goals, including four of eight from beyond the arc, four rebounds and three assists.

Photo by: Tony Harper/Excel H Sports/Indiana Sports Network

But a bigger key was Purdue rattling Minnesota’s composure and gaining turnovers from the young Gophers, who only counted one error in the first half.

And the veteran Purdue squad gradually quelled Minnesota’s upset bid going forward after Edey scored to break the game’s last tie at 55-55.  Edey’s rebound of a Gopher miss led to a fast break basket for Lance Jones as Purdue stretched back to a 70-60 lead.


Minnesota’s Dawson Garcia kept his team in contention with six of his game-sharing high 24 points, as he tried to carry a late rally.  Minnesota fought back within two points at 73-71, however, another Edey basket and costly turnover on point guard Elijah Hawkins missing Garcia on a perimeter pass would be the Gophers undoing.

Braden Smith’s layup and free throw with 1:37 left finally gave Purdue security with an 82-74 lead, while Smith’s steal on the other end effectively decided the final result in the host Boilers’ favor.

Edey shared scoring honors with Garcia, at 24 and pulled in 15 rebounds.  Smith came up just shy of a triple double with 16 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists.  Smith also collected four steals off the Gophers’ few miscues.

Other Gophers cracking double-figures were, true freshman, Arlington Heights, Illinois, Cam Christie 13 and San Jose, California junior Mike Mitchell, Jr. 14 points. Washington, D.C. junior Elijah Hawkins had a team high seven assists. Hawkins has one of the top assists to turnover ratios in the country.

Christie should be on his way to 1st Team All-Freshman B1G Ten honors as well as, on the list of honors for national honors at the conclusion of the year.

Photo by: Tony Harper/Excel H Sports/Indiana Sports Network

For the Boilers, New Castle, Indiana’s senior Mason Gillis tallied 14 points while Evanston, Illinois, 5th year Lance Jones added 12.

(The following is credit sourced to Purdue University Athletics)


  • Purdue improved to 23-2 overall and 12-2 in the Big Ten Conference with an 84-76 win over Minnesota.
  • The win was Purdue’s ninth straight victory, now tied for the fifth-longest winning streak in the country. It was also Purdue’s 14 straight home win as Purdue improved to 13-0 in Mackey Arena.
  • The nine-game win streak in Big Ten play is tied for the fourth-longest conference winning streak of the Matt Painter era.
  • Purdue has now reached 12 conference wins in nine of the last 10 seasons. No other Big Ten team has more than six years of 12-plus victories.
  • Purdue has won six straight games over Minnesota at Mackey Arena.
  • Purdue has won 16 of its last 17 games.
  • The Boilermakers’ 23-2 start through 25 games is the best in school history (also in 2022-23, 2017-18, 1987-88).
  • Purdue is now 20-0 when holding teams to 79 or fewer points. Meanwhile, Purdue is 86-3 since the start of the 2017-18 season when scoring 80 points.
  • Purdue trailed by 10 early in the second half. It marked Purdue’s second comeback win of at least 10 points this season (Alabama – 12).
  • Points per possession for Purdue (1st half – 1.13; 2nd half – 1.53).
  • Points per possession for Minnesota (1st half – 1.39; 2nd half – 1.10).
  • Purdue shot 47.4 percent (9-of-19) from 3-point range and during Purdue’s nine-game winning streak, is now shooting 42.0 percent from 3-point range in that span. In Big Ten home games, Purdue is shooting 46.0 percent from long range.
  • Purdue is now 81-16 over the last three seasons. The school record for wins in a 3-year span is 83 (2017, 2018, 2019).
  • Purdue is just 106-of-159 (.667) from the free throw line in the last five games.
  • Zach Edey recorded his ninth straight double-double with 24 points, 15 rebounds and 2 assists. It marked his 57th career double-double and 18th of the season. It marked his 33rd career 20-10 game, the most for a Big Ten player since the 2010-11 season by eight games (Luka Garza – 25).
  • Edey now has 2,115 points and 1,143 rebounds in his career. He needs six rebounds to break the school record for career rebounds (Joe Barry Carroll – 1,148). He moved into a tie for fifth on the Big Ten’s all-time rebounds list.
  • Edey is the fourth player in Big Ten history with 2,100 points and 1,100 rebounds (Trayce Jackson-Davis, Ethan Happ, Joe Barry Carroll).
  • Braden Smith tallied 16 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and four steals in the victory. He is the second player nationally this season to reach those marks in a game (Tulane’s Kevin Cross vs. Furman; 25 pts, 12 asts, 12 rebs, 6 stls). Smith attempted just seven shots in the victory.
  • Smith moved into a tie for sixth on Purdue’s single-season assist list with 180.
  • Smith now has 10 games of at least 10 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists – tied for the third most in America.
  • Smith is the first player in school history to have at least 320 points, 180 assists and 140 rebounds in a season. He is already one of just 13 players in Big Ten history to reach those marks.
  • Smith is averaging 12.8 points, 7.2 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game.
  • Mason Gillis tallied 14 points, four rebounds and three assists and is now shooting 37-of-76 (.487) from 3-point range on the season. Purdue is 36-4 during his career when he makes at least two 3-pointers in a game.
  • Trey Kaufman-Renn tied a career high with eight rebounds, coming in just 19 minutes of action.


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