Coach Painter’s Boilermakers didn’t take long to get their first signature win of the season, handling the North Carolina Tar Heels 93-84 in the second game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament.
This sets up the biggest marquee match-up of the early season when #6 Purdue plays #5 Villanova after Villanova took down #17 Tennessee in the previous game.
For the Boilers, it was an offensive performance in three parts.
Sasha Stefanovic carried his strong shooting start into this one, knocking down his first 4 three-pointers, dropping 14 points in the first ten minutes, and finishing the game with 23 points on 13 shots, including 5 three-pointers and a game 8 assists.
But Sasha’s final three-pointer and the middle of this game belonged to Jaden Ivey. The sophomore star gave NBA scouts in attendance a whole lot to remember. After Dawson Garcia hit one of his three three-pointers with just over 9 minutes left in the game that gave the Tar Heels their first and only lead of the game, Ivey responded.
Ivey pushed in transition to the left side of the rim, beat his man, pulled in three defenders, hovered in the air before reaching back to fire a perfectly placed pass to a trailing Sasha Stefanovic to put Purdue back up 68-65.
On the very next play Ivey grabbed a rebound and pushed the pace again. He drew in three defenders again from the right side and whipped a cross court pass to Isaiah Thompson wide open in the corner. Thompson’s lone basket of the game put Purdue up 71-65.
Ivey wrapped up the hat trick of highlights by attacking again, this time isolating Brady Manek in the paint and euro-stepping, drawing contact, and contorting his body to get his floater off the middle of the back board and through the net. When Ivey knocked down his free throw, he capped off a 10-0 Purdue run to give them a 9 point lead.
It was a showcase game for the guard who has lottery aspirations next season. Ivey showed off game changing speed, elevation and pace. He put together his most complete game of the season with 22 points, and career highs in rebounds with 10 and assists with 6.
But Hubert Davis’s Tar Heels weren’t done. The Tar Heel guards R.J. David and Caleb Love both started getting hot, accounting for 18 points a piece, and a 7-0 run by UNC pushed the game back to two, 74-72.
That’s when Coach Painter brought in Trevion Williams off the bench with his fourth foul. Both big men for Painter had to deal with foul trouble all game. When Tre went off the floor with 8:26 in the first half with his second foul, he was right next to Edey who picked up his second a minute before. The two remained on the bench for the rest of the first half, Painter relying on his true freshman Caleb Furst to move over from Power Forward to Center.
But with four fouls and just over six minutes left, Tre Williams wasn’t the one that had to worry about fouls. Purdue started to feeding the senior in the post and the big man took over. He attacked, shimmying over one shoulder and then the other. He was too much for both North Carolina big men.
With 2:44 Armando Barcot picked up his fifth foul on a Williams post-up. Barcot, Tar Heels best post player coming, was on the bench for most the game with foul trouble.
A minute later, Garcia was following him to the bench with his fifth. Williams isolated Garcia in the post, faced up, and hit him with a baseline crossover. He beat Garcis clean, forcing the big man to leave his feet on a Williams pump fake, and connecting with Williams arms for his final foul of the game.
Trevion Williams ended the game with 20 points on 8 of 10 shooting from the field with most of his damage coming in the second half.
North Carolina were able to get open looks for their bigs all game, but Purdue’s offense was just too much as it’s looking like one of the best units in the country. This was their fourth straight 90 point game to start the season. Three Boilermakers scored over 20 points while Sasha and Ivey both set career highs in assists.
Purdue will not get long to enjoy this one. #6 Purdue will turn around and play #5 Villanova at 1 o’clock tomorrow afternoon on ABC.