What would you have said if I told you back in October that Purdue basketball would enter 2023 undefeated and ranked as the number one team in the country while sporting the leading candidate for the Naismith Award? Most would have asked what I was thinking or how much I had to drink that day but the Boilermakers have come out swinging and have shown that they’re a force to be reckoned with this season with Zach Edey leading the charge. After handedly beating Florida A&M tonight, Purdue finishes its non-conference season 11-0 (plus 2-0 in the “pre-conference” B1G games) and likely will remain #1 in the AP polls into next year.
Zach Edey: 14 pts 10 reb 2 blk 22 min
Brandon Newman: 18 pts 4 reb 5 blk 20 min
Trey Kaufman-Renn: 11 pts 6 reb 2 ast 20 min
After missing last week’s game against New Orleans, Zach Edey was able to go tonight and, ho hum, he recorded a 14-10 double-double on just 5 shots. As per the usual, Edey was just bigger than his opponent and could dominate physically when he got the ball down low. But Purdue was not dependent on Edey in this game as 8 different Boilermakers scored 5 or more points. In his best outing of the season, Brandon Newman shined on both offense and defense, scoring a game high 18 points and recording 5 blocked shots on the other end. Brandon was an effective shooter, going 3-6 from beyond the arc and 7-13 overall. As a team, Purdue struggled to shoot the 3 again, combining to go 6-25 from beyond the arc. In particular, Ethan Morton and Fletcher Loyer continued to have a rough time as they shot a combined 1-8 from deep. Morton finished with 1 point and Loyer with 7. Trey Kaufman-Renn built off his 24-point performance last week with 11 points on 4-6 shooting and 6 rebounds. TKR is becoming a nice low-post threat when Edey is taking a breather, as he can move effectively to create space when the ball is in deep. Rounding out the starting 5 for Purdue was Caleb Furst with a very efficient 10 and 6 while Braden Smith finished with 7 points and 1 assist. Mason Gillis finished with 5 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 assists and David Jenkins Jr. had a nice game, finishing with 7 points off the bench.
There are 2 takeaways from this game: Purdue continues to really struggle from deep and their defense can make a team work incredibly hard for points. In terms of shooting, it just seems like every night is an off night from beyond the arc. Today was a better performance compared to previous weeks, but the Boilermakers still only shot 24%. It doesn’t make much difference against small non-conference teams, but it could mean the difference between winning and losing in a fair amount of B1G games. This trend does roll into the defensive point, as it has been the Purdue defense that has been effective at covering up some of the shooting performances. The defense was really effective today, consistently forcing FAMU to take deep shots late in the shot clock. The rotations were quick today and help was given when needed to an albeit overmatched opponent. Any time you hold an opponent under 50 points, it’s a good day defensively, and that mentality was throughout the game, even after it was clearly going to be a blowout win. Matt Painter has instilled a workman’s mentality into this team, and they have really bought in, a fantastic sign for the season’s outlook.
Today was the third game in a trifecta of player branded uniforms for the Boilermakers. Florida A&M are the first team to don the LeBron James logo on their uniforms after being unveiled in 2021. This follows previous games against Marquette and Davidson who show the logos of Michael Jordan and Steph Curry, respectively.