Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/8/12
MINNEAPOLIS -- Gophers senior center Ralph Sampson III is supposed to be one of Minnesota's leaders on and off the court, especially with fellow senior Trevor Mbakwe out for the season with an ACL injury. But in Minnesota's 79-66 loss to Purdue on Sunday, Sampson was seemingly nowhere to be found. Sampson finished with just two points in 13 minutes and also added three rebounds and two turnovers. It was the fewest points for Sampson since he was held scoreless in 10 minutes against Dayton on Nov. 27. His lone basket Sunday came on a putback to open the scoring in the second half. Sampson has now had games with zero points, one point and two points this season -- not exactly what the Gophers need from their lone healthy senior. Minnesota also didn't get much production from junior college transfer Julian Welch, who had been one of the Gophers' most consistent scorers prior to Sunday. He had scored in double figures in 11 of his last 12 games, but had just four points in 22 minutes against the Boilermakers. Still, junior forward Rodney Williams said the Gophers should be able to overcome off nights by two of their go-to scorers. "We've got guys on the bench that are going to come out and produce and work hard and do what they've got to do," said Williams, who scored a team-high 19 points. "Everybody has those days. Today was just their day. It just wasn't going for them. Everybody has to be ready because you never know when you're going to come in and get that chance to play. I don't think it'll be another game like this for Ralph and Julian." Sampson played just three minutes in the second half, while fellow big man Elliott Eliason didn't play at all after halftime. Gophers head coach Tubby Smith said that was partially to adjust to the lineup Purdue was putting on the court, but it definitely meant the Gophers had a smaller team on the floor as they tried to battle back from a 15-point halftime deficit. "When they go with the small lineup the way they did and us trying to get back into it, it's hard to play our big guys in that situation," Smith said. "We needed speed and quickness. That's why we tried to go with Andre Ingram, because he's quicker than both Elliott and Ralph. When you're behind like that and you're trying to press and trap and rotate, it's hard for those guys . . . to play in that type of game." Minnesota's second-half effort resulted in the Gophers outscoring Purdue 34-32 after halftime, but even the quicker lineup couldn't cut the deficit enough as Minnesota fell to 0-4 to start the Big Ten season. Without Sampson and Eliason for much of the game, however, Minnesota still won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding Purdue 37-31. It was the second game in a row in which the Gophers out-rebounded their opponent after losing the battle on the glass in their previous three contests. "I think we actually ended up beating them on the boards, so that wasn't an area that really hurt us," said Williams, who had a team-high 14 rebounds. "I think more of it was getting the ball inside so that we can finish at the bucket. We took a lot of jump shots and a lot of forced jump shots. Having another big man in there definitely would have helped out a lot." Still struggling against the 3-ball: All year, Minnesota has struggled to defend the 3-pointer. Statistically, the Gophers were the worst team in the Big Ten against the 3-pointer, allowing opponents to shoot 37.5 percent from downtown. Sunday's shooting display by the Boilermakers won't help that percentage. Purdue came out firing in the first half, especially guards D.J. Byrd and Ryne Smith. Those two combined to shoot 8 for 8 from downtown in the first half, while senior Robbie Hummel was 2 for 3 as the Boilermakers connected on 10 of 12 3-pointers before halftime. "I don't know that I've coached against a team that was any hotter than Purdue was today, going 10 of 12 in the first half," Smith said. "There were times when we were near them and D.J. Byrd and Ryne Smith and Robbie Hummel just lit us up. That's been hurting us all year long, but especially those last few minutes of the first half." Indeed, Purdue used the 3-ball to give itself a cushion at halftime. With the Boilermakers holding a 35-30 lead with 4:12 to play in the first half, Byrd connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to give Purdue an 11-point edge. The Boilermakers went into halftime up 47-32. While Purdue's hot shooting cooled off in the second half -- the Boilermakers were 0-for-3 from long range after halftime -- the damage had already been done from downtown. "I think we were just a little late on the switches and everything like that. They're fast shooters, so you slide a second late and they're going to be able to get it off," said Minnesota freshman Joe Coleman, who had a career-high 14 points in his first start as a Gopher. "That's what they do best. . . . In the second half, the 3-point shots were definitely limited." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL Legends (and Jose Canseco!) Have No Love For Captain America
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Josh Gordon will be restricted free agent after 2016

Chargers release statement on Joey Bosa situation

Yoenis Cespedes says he will not opt out of Mets contract

Zach Johnson unloads on Olympic golf

Drew Brees says players do not trust league office, Goodell

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Lawsuit over Hall of Fame Game refiled after McAfee comments

Report: Griffin plans to re-sign with Clippers, won't be traded

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

Recruit decommits from Michigan after mail mistake

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

Revisiting the 10 biggest mistakes of the NFL offseason

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker