Mathias’ finishing flurry helps No. 9 Purdue rout Gophers
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Dakota Mathias delivered one monumental finishing flurry on Sunday.
Everyone else wearing Purdue gear enjoyed the entertainment.
The senior guard matched his career high with 25 points, made five of his career-high seven 3-pointers in the second half and left his final home game to a standing ovation as the ninth-ranked Boilermakers blew out Minnesota 84-60.
“The most important thing is that we got a win,” Mathias said. “We needed that. I don’t I’ll reflect back any time soon on it. But maybe a few years down the line I’ll think about Senior Night and all these guys.”
For Mathias, it may go down as the best overall game of his college career. It certainly will be the most memorable.
He finished 9 of 11 from the field, missed only two shots from beyond the arc, got seven rebounds — one short of his career best — and had four assists.
Carsen Edwards added 18 points and seven assists for the Boilermakers (26-5, 15-3 Big Ten).
It was a fitting finale for a team that flirted with making school history all season and added a few more chapters to the legacy before saying farewell following the game.
The Purdue seniors broke the school record for career home wins (62). They also became the fourth graduating class with 100 wins and the third to win 26 regular-season games. The 1987-88 Boilermakers hold the record of 27.
There was one glaring omission: a championship celebration.
Purdue blew its chance to win a second straight conference crown by losing three straight during an eight-day stretch earlier this month, then watched their fading hopes slip completely away when No. 2 Michigan State beat Wisconsin earlier in the day.
By tip-off, Purdue knew its fate.
Still, Mathias and the Boilermakers wanted everyone to get a proper send-off, and it didn’t take them long to get it done.
Isaac Haas finished with 13 points and Vincent Edwards had 10 after returning from an ankle injury that kept him out of the previous two games.
But it was Mathias’ 3-point barrage early in the second half that put the Boilermakers in control and sent them to their most lopsided win since a 28-point victory over Wisconsin on Jan. 16.
“It’s how you want to play,” coach Matt Painter said. “This was kind of a quintessential game for him.”
With Purdue holding a 37-29 halftime lead, Mathias opened the second half by making four of the Boilermakers’ six 3s during a decisive 24-7 run. When it ended, the Boilermakers led 61-36 and the injury-plagued Golden Gophers (15-16, 4-14) had no chance to even get close.
Nate Mason had 18 points for Minnesota, which has lost 10 of its last 11. Jordan Murphy added 14 points and 10 rebounds and extended his school single-season record for double-doubles to 24.
“You have to take away the attempt with him,” coach Richard Pitino said of Mathias. “We struggled with that. I tried to go small just to get a little bit more offense and he’s got good size. He was shooting right over us.”
Minnesota: A miserable conference season ended with a thud. All the short-handed Golden Gophers can do now is hope to regroup for the conference tournament and get enough wins to earn a postseason bid.
Purdue: After winning their first 13 league games, the Boilermakers wound up finishing tied for second. But they have regained some momentum heading into postseason play, and getting Vincent Edwards back from an injured ankle could help greatly.
Minnesota: Isaiah Washington had 14 points off the bench. ... Mason moved past Kevin McHale for No. 6 on the school’s all-time scoring list Sunday with 1,719 points. ... Murphy, a junior, surpassed Blake Hoffarber for No. 20 on the school’s career scoring chart. Murphy has 1,271 points. ... Minnesota shot 40.8 percent from the field and was 7 of 18 on 3s. ... The Golden Gophers have lost eight of 11 in the series.
Purdue: The Boilermakers topped the 80-point mark in their third straight game against the Gophers, the first time that’s happened since 1987-88. ... Purdue shot 51.6 percent from the field and improved to 19-0 this season when topping 48 percent. ... The Boilermakers were 12 of 25 on 3s and had only five turnovers. ... Carsen Edwards has scored at least 10 points in 14 straight games.
HE SAID IT
Minnesota: “We were really struggling to score,” Pitino said. “When all things are not clicking for us, it’s very, very challenging. We’re easy to guard right now.”
Minnesota: Will make its third trip of the season to New York when it opens Big Ten tournament play against a to-be-determined opponent Wednesday.
Purdue: Gets an extended break as it waits to see who it plays Friday in New York.