The Purdue Boilermakers won a big game against the Xavier Musketeers in what might be the final installment of the Gavitt Games 83-71. In what was an incredibly hard fought contest in front of a sold out Mackey Arena, Xavier played incredibly hard and hit almost every big shot they needed to ensure the game didn’t get out of hand. After back to back games where the Boilers sprinted to big early leads, the Boilers struggled a bit more in this matchup against a high quality Big East team.
Starting off Edey and the Boilers really struggled to start with Edey missing two easy buckets (they ended up just 8-13 on layups) at the rim and Trey Kaufman-Renn while Xavier was able to always maintain contact throughout the game by hitting big shots and key shots throughout the entire game. The team finally came alive at the 14:00 minute mark with a fast break alley-oop from Lance Jones to Cam Heide but the Boilers were unable to stretch the lead from there as Xavier clawed their way back to pull even at 17 with 11:37 left in the first half.
Xavier did present some unique challenges for the Boilers as they appeared to employ a very similar game plan to what the Indiana Hoosiers used last season by pulling Purdue’s big man away from the basket and hitting mid-range jump shots and floaters. When those shots weren’t falling, it seemed as though Xavier was getting second chance buckets with Purdue giving up 8 offensive rebounds and 9 second chance points. That has been a bit of an eye sore for the Boilers so far this year and this marks the second game in a row where Purdue allowed an opponent to score more second chance points than what they were able to generate.
Purdue was able to push the lead to 37-29 as Braden Smith whipped a pass into the right corner to find Myles Colvin for a three pointer with 3 seconds left. Coach Painter trusted the true freshman to end the half after continuing to show improvement through the first three games and looking to get him more minutes.
To start the second half, Purdue looked to push their lead into double digits and were able to get there but saw that lead shrink to as little as five points at the 13:34 mark before Purdue had their biggest run of the game with a six point run that pushed the Purdue lead to 14 points. The Boilers would be able to maintain the lead the rest of the way as Purdue was able to get into the bonus with 10:54 left in the second half. That led to Purdue taking seven free throws and hitting all seven of them.
Edey was again a very constant source of problems for an opposing team as he score 28 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks in 33 minutes of action. Edey was also an impressive 10-11 from the free throw line along with the Boilers going 18-21 as a team. Braden Smith had another wonderful game where he looked to be a primary scorer going for 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists and was a team best +15 while on the floor.
A major piece of information for the Boilers moving forward was determined a bit tonight as Brian Waddell did not check into the game and likely is the first to see his minutes diminish moving forward. Coach Painter has said he would like to get his rotation down to nine guys consistently but that will likely come on a game by game basis rather than seeing one guy getting his minutes reduced. Tonight, that player was Cam Heide who saw only 9 minutes of action while Ethan Morton saw only 10 minutes.
Play of the Game:
Hard to go against the alley-oop from Jones to Heide early in the game but when Purdue needed a big bucket it was Ethan Morton who hit a big three pointer that helped the Boilers go on a 6-0 run to run their lead out to 14 points. The Boilers never looked back after that.
Player of the Game:
There is no dancing around this one tonight. Edey went for 28 points and shot 10-11 from the free throw line and he could have easily gone for 40 had he not missed 8 shots that he could have just as easily hit. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked 4 shots.
Purdue’s schedule ramps up considerably with their trip to the Maui Invitation where they will first face off against the Gonzaga Bulldogs.