EditorsNote: Corrects senior to junior in 10th graf; several other minor changes
Minnesota entered the Big Ten tournament not seemingly in any danger as far as an NCAA Tournament bid was concerned.
But just in case there was some doubt, there isn’t any longer after what the Golden Gophers have done so far in Chicago.
Senior Jordan Murphy had 27 points and eight rebounds to lead Minnesota to a 75-73 win over Purdue in a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal on Friday.
The Gophers (21-12) advanced to Saturday’s semifinals, where they will face third-seeded and 10th-ranked Michigan, while regular-season co-champion Purdue (23-9) will await its NCAA Tournament fate.
After leading most of the game, Minnesota found itself down 71-69 with 3:40 remaining.
But even after needing overtime to win on Thursday against Penn State, it was Minnesota that had the stronger finishing kick.
Murphy answered with a personal 5-0 run, converting a 3-point play with 2:01 remaining and then two free throws with 1:17 left to give Minnesota a 74-71 lead.
After Purdue closed to within 74-73 with 12 seconds left on a layup by sophomore center Matt Haarms, Dupree McBrayer split a pair of free throws to give Minnesota a 75-73 lead with 11 seconds left.
Purdue had one last chance to win, but junior Carsen Edwards missed a 3-pointer as time expired.
Junior guard Amir Coffey scored 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, and freshman Daniel Oturu added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota, which won the rubber match after the teams split their regular-season meetings.
Minnesota shot 50 percent from the field overall (27 of 54) and was 16 of 21 from the free-throw line.
Haarms had 16 points, and Edwards added 11 points in defeat for Purdue, which shot 6 of 24 from 3-point range.
Trailing 59-50 with 11:33 remaining, Purdue seemed to find its legs, going on a 12-2 run to take a 62-61 lead with 8:13 left.
Minnesota started to separate itself a bit in the second half, going on a 9-2 run over a span of 3:29 to take a 55-45 lead with 12:59 remaining.
—Field Level Media