Gophers fall to Boilermakers in regular season finale

Nate Mason led the team with 18 points.

Senior guard Nate Mason maneuvers around Michigan State players during a game on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Jack Rodgers

Senior guard Nate Mason maneuvers around Michigan State players during a game on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Jack Warrick

The Gophers put an ugly end on a regular season they may want to forget.

On Wednesday, Minnesota snapped a nine-game losing streak at Williams Arena on senior night. Sunday night, they went to West Lafayette to play at Purdue’s senior night, where they gave the Purdue seniors a night to remember.

Minnesota (15-16, 4-14 Big Ten) lost 84-60 in its last regular season game to No. 9 Purdue (26-5, 15-3 Big Ten) on Sunday at Mackey Arena. The victory gave Purdue’s seniors their 100th victory with the program.

“We were really struggling to score,” head coach Richard Pitino told reporters. “When all things are not clicking for us, it’s very, very challenging. We’re easy to guard right now.”

Boilermakers’ guard Dakota Mathias finished with 25 points on 7-9 shooting from beyond the arc.

“You have to take away the attempt with him,” Pitino told reporters. “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.”

The Gophers were shut down in the paint as the two Boilermakers’ players taller than seven feet were too much for the smaller Gophers lineup. Matt Haarms, who stands at 7 foot, 3 inches, scored eight points. Center Isaac Haas, the 7 foot, 2 inch player, scored 13 points.

Guard Nate Mason led the Gophers with 18 points, shooting 6-14 from the field. Forward Jordan Murphy and guard Isaiah Washington each had 14. The Gophers shot 40 percent compared with the Boilermakers’ 52 percent.

Later, after Purdue had taken a 31-point lead, the starting seniors exited for the last time to a standing ovation from the crowd. 

The Gophers were down at one point by 16 points in the first half, but after a late drive by Mason and Washington had 20 points between the two in the first half, to make the deficit 37-29 heading into the locker room.

The Gophers lost the last matchup with Purdue on Jan. 13 by a score of 81-47 — the worst loss of the season for the Gophers and the least amount of points scored by Minnesota.

Minnesota will head to the Big Ten Tournament on Wednesday for the first round in New York City.

“Everything looked easy for them,” Mason told reporters. “We have to be able to close into guys, take away attempts and limit three-pointers. We had a rough season, especially regular season. We just have to regroup.”