Boilers escape road trip to Minnesota

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Vince Edwards scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help No. 21 Purdue hang on without freshman standout Caleb Swanigan and beat Minnesota 68-64 on Wednesday night.

Edwards finished 8 for 15 from the floor. A.J. Hammons added 16 points, Raphael Davis pitched in 10 and the Boilermakers (18-4, 6-3) bounced back from a loss to Big Ten leader Iowa for the second time this month.

Nate Mason had 15 points and a career-high 12 assists for the Gophers (0-9, 6-15), whose losing streak reached 10 straight games despite the reprieve provided by Swanigan’s right ankle injury that kept the conference’s leading rebounder out of the game.

Swanigan was suited up but wore a wrap on his lower leg as he stood under the basket for layup drills and squeezed his 6-foot-9 frame into the seat on the Purdue bench next to Minnesota’s raised floor.

Edwards knocked down a 3-pointer to put the Boilermakers up 62-54 with 4:36 left, but the Gophers didn’t go away. Bakary Konate’s layup with 68 seconds remaining pulled them within 65-63, and Hammons was called for an offensive foul on a hard screen of Mason.
Carlos Morris tried a jumper from the top of the key out of a timeout with the shot clock waning, and Davis soared in from the side to block it. P.J. Thompson made one of two free throws for Purdue, and then Mason was fouled with 10.1 seconds left driving for a layup. He made one of two, but the Gophers had to foul and Edwards sank both of his to seal it.

The Gophers missed 10 of their 21 free throws.

Without Swanigan and junior guard Kendall Stephens, who missed his second straight game due to the recent death of a close friend, the Boilermakers had their superior depth tested a bit.

Konate had an impressive burst with 7-foot-2 sophomore Isaac Haas in the game briefly for the Boilermakers in the first half. Konate dunked on Haas, then drew a foul on him on the other end after contesting his missed turnaround in the middle of the lane and grabbing the rebound.

Hammons replaced Haas, and Konate dropped in another dunk on the next possession to get the crowd going and pull the Gophers within 20-14, but Hammons pitched in six points over the last 5 1/2 minutes before the break and Edwards banked in a putback just before the buzzer to put Purdue up 33-26.

Edwards was there for a back-breaking basket just about every time the Gophers got something going. Charles Buggs converted a long-striding layup he started on the wing to cut the lead to three points, but Edwards swished a 3-pointer just a few seconds later.

Edwards is 32 for 60 from the field (53 percent) over the last five games.

Dupree McBrayer had 13 points and Jordan Murphy added 12 points for Minnesota.