INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.—Freshman center Kris Humphries tallied 20 points and 15 rebounds and senior forward Michael Bauer added 16 as Minnesota defeated Purdue 63-52 in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday afternoon.
Minnesota suffered offensively in the first half, shooting only 22 percent, but went into the break tied 19-19. The Gophers then received lifts from Bauer and Humphries, who each had 14 points in the second half.
With the win, the Minnesota looks ahead to rival Wisconsin in an attempt to avenge an earlier 80-66 loss in Madison.
"I think guys are happy but we're not satisfied," senior guard Ben Johnson said. "Tomorrow is a new day and a new game and we look forward to that matchup."
"It's a great opportunity (to play Wisconsin) and we haven't really gone over our game plan and stuff so I'm just enjoying the moment right now and getting ready for Wisconsin in probably a little while," Humphries said.
Minnesota will have to contain junior guard Devin Harris, who had a career-high 38 points when the teams met Feb. 4. Minnesota head coach Dan Monson anticipates a tough game in which the Gophers will have to play with the confidence they gained in the last few weeks of the regular season.
"We have to figure out how to [stop Harris]," Monson said. "I don't think we have anybody that can guard him man-on-man so we're going to have to figure out some ways to do that but they're not a team you can cheat off of or defensive schemes against them—they've seen it all and they're very efficient. I think the biggest compliment with Wisconsin is how efficient they are. They're going to take what you give them and they're not going to beat themselves and we're going to have to come, we're going to have to play better tomorrow."
The last time the teams met, Minnesota stuck with the Badgers for most of the game and led 41-40 with 12 minutes, 52 seconds left. Harris, though, caught fire and scored 24 points in the second half alone, carrying Wisconsin to victory. Minnesota certainly remembers this well.
"It was a game that we led for quite a bit of it," Monson said. "I think we were up 39-36 in the second half or something like that. I kind of remember them having a 3-point lead with about 10, 12 minutes to go and then them getting momentum and Devin Harris just taking over."
Who: No. 2 seed Wisconsin (21-6) vs. No. 10 Minnesota (12-17)
Site: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
When: Friday, March 12, 5:40 p.m. CST
Series notes: Wisconsin has never played Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament. The Badgers defeated the Gophers 80-66 in the teams' only meeting this season.
In other tournament action…
Sophomore guard Bracey Wright had 20 points and senior center George Leach added 14 as the Hoosiers (14-14) defeated the Buckeyes (14-16) in the tournament's first game Thursday. Ohio State sophomore forward Terence Dials had game highs with 22 points and nine rebounds. Both teams performed well offensively, as the Buckeyes shot 55 percent and the Hoosiers 52 percent. Indiana will play No. 1 Illinois (22-5) Friday at 11 a.m.
Penn State committed a single-game tournament-record 26 turnovers and Northwestern had a tournament-high 22 steals. Northwestern sophomore forward Vedran Vukusic had a game-high 16 points while senior guard Jitim Young added 14. For Penn State (9-19), sophomore forward Aaron Young had a double-double, with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Northwestern (14-14) will play No. 3 Michigan State (17-10) at 8:10 p.m. Friday night.