Purdue takes down Minnesota for piece of Big Ten pie

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Purdue's Keaton Grant didn't start the first half against Minnesota. He couldn't have finished it better.

Grant, a regular starter who didn't practice Monday or Tuesday because he had the flu, hit a shot from just inside halfcourt as time expired in the first half, giving the Boilermakers (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) a three-point lead. Purdue carried the momentum from that shot to a 65-53 win Wednesday that gave the Boilermakers a share of the Big Ten lead.

"That was a big play," Purdue's Robbie Hummel said. "When that happens, it just kills you if you are on defense. They had the momentum, then Keaton hit that shot, and that just turned things around."

E'Twaun Moore scored 22 points, Hummel had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Grant added 11 points for Purdue (22-6, 13-2 Big Ten), which is tied with Wisconsin and Indiana for the conference lead.

Lawrence McKenzie led Minnesota (17-10, 7-8) with 13 points. Dan Coleman had 10 points and 13 rebounds and Spencer Tollackson had 10 points in Minnesota's second-lowest scoring game of the season.

It was Purdue's first game since a Feb. 19 loss at Indiana, a game that halted an 11-game winning streak.

"Coming off of the loss, we knew that we had to want it tonight, and we knew that we were going to have to put it all together," Moore said.

The victory over Minnesota gave the Boilermakers their best start since the 1997-98 season.

Purdue held Minnesota to 36 percent shooting and forced 20 turnovers to offset the Gophers' 43-29 rebounding edge.

The Boilermakers kept Minnesota scoreless for the first five minutes of the second half and took a 34-26 lead.

Purdue was building its lead when Moore, as if on cue, made a layup just as the student section finished singing the school fight song to give the Boilermakers a 42-29 edge.

A 3-pointer by Moore gave Purdue a 51-35 lead with 7:35 to play, and the game wasn't close after that.

"E'Twaun's a pretty talented athlete," Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said. "He's quick. He knows how to play the game. He knows how to get open, and they were able to find him."

The game got increasingly rough in the second half, and there was a near altercation with just over two minutes to play after Hummel was tied up. Several players converged at midcourt, but order was restored before things escalated.

"Rebounding was getting kind of crazy down there, but that's the way they call it," Hummel said. "This is the Big Ten. We'll just adjust to that style of play."

Smith didn't explain it away so easily, saying: "I just think we lost our composure."

Purdue led 19-9 with 8:20 left in the first half before Minnesota went on a 15-2 run to take a 24-21 lead.

Grant answered with a 3-pointer to tie the score with a minute left in the half.

Purdue's Tarrance Crump hit a mid-range jumper with 28 seconds left, then McKenzie tied the game on a layup before Grant hit his long shot.

"I didn't know which play coach was running, he just told me to curl off whatever screen got set, then he just told me to shoot the ball," Grant said.

Grant's shot allowed Purdue to get away with shooting 35 percent in the first half.

"We were a little rusty," he said. "We had a week off, we wasn't moving. We were standing still the majority of the time. Once we got into the flow of the game and once we stopped standing, then we was cool."

Smith was disappointed the Gophers shot just 30 percent after halftime.

"Certainly, in the second half, we just couldn't buy a shot," he said. "We couldn't do the little things. I guess the pressure got to us."