After loss to Minnesota, Purdue Big Ten Tournament stay is a short one
CHICAGO — A Big Ten championship already in hand and its place in the NCAA Tournament secure, Purdue came to the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago hoping to win it.
Its hopes were swiftly dashed, 75-73, by Minnesota, the Boilermakers' stay at the United Center ending as Carsen Edwards’ would-be game-winning three at the buzzer caromed off the rim.
Now, it must just make the best of it.
“You make this a learning experience,” center Matt Haarms said, “instead of sitting here sulking about it. We can sit here and just think about that we lost, but you have to pick your head up, look at the film, see what we could have done better and learn from those experiences.
“But we came here wanting a Big Ten Tournament championship, not thinking that it would be nice to go home for a little bit.”
That's the Boilermakers’ reality now, though, after Minnesota took the rubber match of a three-game series between these two teams this season, and now the rest does matter.
Edwards said after the game that he’s been dealing with a sore back, admitting that he’s been playing with it for a period of time, but when asked how or when it happened, he just said, “I’m all right. I’m fine.”
Prior, though, the Boilermakers’ leading scorer and first-team All-Big Ten guard said, “Hopefully I can use this break before the tournament just to get right. It's in pain right now.”
It didn't stop Edwards from bearing the responsibility of the shot that could have won it, a shot that would have trumped the late-game heroics of Minnesota senior Jordan Murphy, who finished with 27 points and eight boards and took the game over after Purdue — which trailed by as many as 10 — led 71-69 in the final three minutes.
But after Purdue put both its centers in together, Murphy drove at Haarms for an and-one to give the Gophers the lead back. After an Edwards miss — he was 4-of-17 from the floor and 1-of-8 from three-point range, with six turnovers — Murphy followed his own miss, drew a foul and made two free throws.
After Haarms missed at the rim, Purdue forced a shot-clock violation, then Haarms scored and Dupree McBrayer split a pair of foul shots.
That gave Purdue the ball with 11 seconds left, down two.
But Minnesota had fouls to give, and used one with five seconds left.
"They did a good job using the fouls that they had," Ryan Cline said. "I honestly didn't even think about that. We were trying to isolate Carsen and get me in a ball screen with him. We got a pretty decent look."
But Edwards' step-back three from the corner, a clean look over Gabe Kalscheur, caught the back of the rim and missed.
"He got a good look," Nojel Eastern said. "It was just a little short. If it goes in, we win the game and if it doesn't, we lose, but it's not like this was our last game of the season.
"Great shot, great look — can't ask for a better look than that. Even though it didn't come out the way we wanted it to, we just have to focus on the bigger picture."
Purdue, which clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title in the finale at Northwestern, lost five games to Big Ten teams this season, two of them to Minnesota, whose size all around the floor has been a problem for Purdue, as has been the tempo with which it plays.
Because of it, Purdue's Big Ten Tournament run was more of a stumble, the silver lining, though, being that more meaningful — and higher-stakes — games lie ahead.
“There’s only one way to look at it after you get beat," Matt Painter said. "Try to get some rest and keep your focus on the NCAA Tournament, find out that first opponent, try to do your homework and figure some things out.
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