Purdue Boilermaker Basketball: D.J. Byrd Leads Purdue in Huge Rebound Win

James EvensCorrespondent IJanuary 8, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 20:  Lewis Jackson #23 of the Purdue Boilermakers drives against the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the second half during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the United Center on March 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Purdue basketball looked unstoppable the first 30 minutes once again against Minnesota, but they struggled for the next six minutes or so before pulling away to a 79-66 victory in Minneapolis, a place that has been traditionally difficult for Purdue. 

D.J. Byrd was the story of the first half, shooting 5-for-5 from three-point land. Byrd finished the game with 18 points, two blocks and two rebounds.

Although Byrd led Purdue for the first half, the story of the game had to be Lewis Jackson.

Jackson was playing with everything he had, slashing through the Gophers defense and giving Tubby Smith a headache that is going to last a while. 

Lew-Jack finished with 20 points, four assists and no turnovers. Although Jackson always plays a huge role in the Boilermakers' performance, tonight it was clearly evident.

Jackson just added another element dishing the ball and scoring himself. Almost all of his points came close to the basket, rather impressive for a 5'9" guard.

Purdue will need more than Jackson and Byrd to come out strong on Thursday against he Badgers. The Badgers have dropped three in a row now in conference play and will surely not be in a great mood when the enter a packed Mackey Arena.

Overall, good things came out of the victory against the Gophers. Purdue really needed to prove they belonged in the Big Ten race this season with a bounce-back after an embarrassing effort at Penn State.

Hopefully this game will re-energize this team as they go through the tough part of the schedule.

A few concerning things were evident in this game. After taking a 67-46 lead with a Kelsey Barlow jumper at the 10:04 mark, the Boilermakers failed to record another field goal until the 3:50 mark. 

This is concerning for the Boilermakers as it once again proves this team can't hold a lead.

The victory was secured for Purdue, but there should not have been a doubt.