Busting Brackets

Big Ten Basketball: Minnesota pulls off road upset over Purdue


Minnesota pulled off an impressive Big Ten basketball upset on the road behind an incredible game from point guard Nate Mason.

Minnesota reeled off a massive road victory in a Big Ten showdown, as they defeated the Purdue Boilermakers, 91-82.

Related Story: Michigan State holds firm at home against Northwestern

Purdue came in as huge favorites at -14, but Minnesota opened the game quickly on a 17-4 run over the game’s first 5:28. The Boilermakers slowly chipped away at Minnesota’s deficit and trailed 38-35 at halftime.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair with the Boilermakers opening up a 50-43 lead with 13:40 left to go. Mason clawed Minnesota back. The junior guard scored seven of Minnesota’s next 10 points to tie the game back up at 53. Mason finished with a career high 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting. The Boilermakers’ smaller backcourt had no answer for the athletic guard out of Decateur, GA.

For Purdue, sophomore forward Caleb Swanigan was once again impressive. The Fort Wayne, IN native scored 28 points and corralled 22 rebounds. His late basket with 4.9 seconds left tied the game at 73 and led to overtime.

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Minnesota then dominated the extra period. The Golden Gophers outscored Purdue 18-9 in the extra session. More baskets by Mason and impressive play from freshman Eric Curry (10 points) helped Richard Pitino’s team pull out the victory.

The Golden Gophers also impressively dealt with foul trouble in overtime with two bigs (Jordan Murphy and Bakary Konate) out with five fouls. Big man Reggie Lynch (four fouls himself) hung tough and provided valuable rim protection (five blocks), along with 10 points and six rebounds.

The upset victory is huge for Minnesota as it continues their impressive comeback season. They now stand at 13-2 overall and 1-1 in conference play. They’ll certainly be ranked on Monday and have games at Northwestern and home against Ohio State this week.

The loss for the Boilermakers hurts. With the Big Ten race wide open, Purdue could’ve stayed on track by defeating a quality opponent in Minnesota. This loss by no means disqualifies them from conference title contention, but they’re making it more difficult on themselves. Their next two games are on the road at Ohio State and a showdown with Wisconsin at home next Sunday.

Next: Three takeaways from Villanova's win over Creighton

In college basketball, a young, athletic and confident team is a dangerous commodity. Minnesota’s statement win tonight over the Boilermakers is a warning shot to the rest of the Big Ten. The eight-win team from last year is no more. In its place is a team that can compete with the league’s best.