NEWS Game wrap-up: #5 Boilermakers undefeated after first conference game

Game wrap-up: #5 Boilermakers undefeated after first conference game

This is the first of many games in 2022 that could be considered “Zack Eddy games.”

Purdue was a favorite to start but couldn’t close a 19-point deficit. They won by just 19 points.

Edey finished with an absurd 31 points and 22 rebounds, including 90 percent from the line. The Canadian giant outrebounded the entire Golden Gophers roster, recording 22 rebounds to top Minnesota’s total of 21. The Boilermakers’ offense clearly revolved around throwing Edey low, but he also struggled to land a half-hook in the first few minutes as we’d hoped. He found his rhythm, was physically dominant with layups and backcourt offense while swallowing rebounds on both sides of the court, and was a disruptor in the paint for several Minnesota bigs who were picking themselves ( still very large) size players with little problem.

Outside of Edey, the No. 5 Boilermakers’ off-ball movement remains flawless, as they can rely on him to draw the attention of multiple opposing defenders, while Furst, Morton or Newman can distract defenders to be on the floor Looking for an open floor, they knocked down open jumpers and left defenses wondering what Purdue was going to do next.

Fletcher Loyer has been figuring out how to get to the paint and finish a circus layup, while keeping an eye on when and where his teammates can make open shots, or drive behind Loyer after he draws defenders into the paint. He had 20 points and eight assists in a very aggressive effort.

The fact that Brandon Newman can make a similar effort while looking for his own shot creation fits perfectly with the way his teammates play in the sixth-man role.

Caleb Furst, aside from a shot or two from long range at the top of the key, looked very comfortable in his starting position and shot selection. Foster finished with 10 points on 80 percent shooting on five carefully selected shots, plus an assist and two rebounds.

Purdue got off to a rather slow start in the opening minutes, but quickly built up leads, sometimes by more than 20 points. A well-coached team ball from Matt Painter’s Boilermakers, they always seem to know where their teammates are supposed to be and where they should be. More tough play for loose balls. More defensive poke-aways lead to transition points. More rebounding. Purdue quickly rose to the ranks of the best offensive teams in college basketball thanks to their shooting talent and starters’ footwork, as well as their efforts to create more opportunities for themselves on the defensive end.

Another point that shouldn’t be overlooked: Purdue is lethal at the free-throw line. Boilermakers draw fouls and convert from free throws a lot, and Zach Edey’s free-throw ability drives me especially crazy, given how automated he is, completely eliminating the possibility of a hack-a-Shaq strategy. If a team is going to beat a full squad with as many complementary contributors as Purdue boasts, they’re going to have to catch the Boilermakers on the off day. This group always finds a way to get back together as a cohesive unit, even if they don’t completely dominate.

Purdue won’t give up wide-open shots at all, and will force you to try and beat them with competitive shots. We’ve seen a little bit in Gonzaga, Duke and Purdue, but we’ve seen the results of all of them: Purdue remains undefeated.

The Boilermakers started the division and overall conference games 1-0 after a quick ascent from No Ranking to the top five. The Painters’ team will host Hofstra 6-3 on Wednesday, Dec. 7 before resuming conference play in Nebraska on Saturday, Dec. 10.

The game against Hofstra Pride will end at 7:00 pm ET on BTN+, followed by divisional rivals the Cornhuskers at 2:15 pm ET on BTN.

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