Losing streak extends to double digits

The Gophers lost their 10th game in a row Wednesday night facing Purdue.

Freshman guard Dupree McBrayer drives towards the basket at Williams Arena on Wednesday night where Minnesota was defeated by Purdue 68-64.

Sam Harper

Freshman guard Dupree McBrayer drives towards the basket at Williams Arena on Wednesday night where Minnesota was defeated by Purdue 68-64.

Ryan Falk

The Gophers losing streak climbed to 10 on Wednesday night, after a 68-64 loss to No. 21 Purdue at Williams Arena.
 
 
Sophomore guard Nate Mason had a double-double in the loss, with 15 points and 12 assists.
 
 
Minnesota’s poor free throw shooting held the team back against the Boilermakers, as the team went only 11-21 at the line.
 
 
“[Missing free throws] is definitely mental,” head coach Richard Pitino said. “We had crucial opportunities to make them, and we missed them.”
 
 
Late in the second half, freshman forward Jordan Murphy had the opportunity to shoot two free throws and give his team the lead but missed both.
 
 
Murphy finished 2-4 from the line, while Mason went 3-6 and freshman guard Dupree McBrayer went 3-5.
 
 
Minnesota’s defense was able to hold the Boilermakers to 42.1 percent shooting, but Purdue was outrebounded Minnesota 39-28 and scored 13 second chance points.
 
 
The Gophers (6-15, 0-9 Big Ten) tried to challenge Purdue’s offense, ranked third-best in the Big Ten, in the first half, but the Boilermakers at one point held a 13-point lead.
 
 
Minnesota’s offense couldn’t keep up in the first half, with the team shooting 1-6 on free throws before the break. McBrayer and Mason combined for 13 points, but the Gophers entered the locker room trailing 33-26.
 
 
“[McBrayer] has great upside,” Pitino said. “I’ve said it from day one.”
 
 
The Gophers pulled closer in the second half, but the Boilermakers kept finding ways to preserve their lead.
 
 
“Either we couldn’t get a stop on the possession we needed, or we couldn’t score,” Murphy said.
 
 
McBrayer was able to attack the basket and find easy layups or get fouled. He finished with 13 points, five assists and two rebounds.
 
 
“We definitely had to go at the bigs and get them in foul trouble,” McBrayer said. “I’m feeling comfortable [attacking the basket], thanks to my team.”
 
 
Murphy, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored 12 in the second. He got his first points on a dunk that energized the crowd.
 
 
The Gophers cut the deficit to four just over midway through the half and later got within one point of the Boilermakers.
 
 
But at the end of the game, the team’s shooting went cold.
 
 
Senior guard Carlos Morris had his shot blocked in the final minute, and the team headed back to the locker room in defeat again. 
 
 
“We’re fighting, and we’re close,” Pitino said. “We’re young, and we understand that.”