If there was any concern about a mental block for the Purdue Boilermakers following the tragic end to last season, those worries were wiped away as the Boilers won 98-45. The Boilers came out firing on all cylinders early on as they jumped out to a quick 21-1 lead and ended the first half leading 51-17.
In that first half, Purdue blitzed the Bulldogs from behind the arc, shooting 9-16 (53%) from behind the three-point line and only turning the ball over 6 times. They also shot 8-11 from the free throw line. Head Coach Matt Painter stayed with his starters almost through the first media timeout but ended up getting eleven players into that first half, including Will Berg.
At one point in the first half, Myles Colvin nearly brought the house down as he came down on a fast break and missed an alley-oop. The freshman would atone for that initial missed shot by going 2-5 from behind the arc and finishing the game with 8 points. The star of the game, outside of a solid performance from Zach Edey and a great shooting night from Braden Smith, was Cam Heide.
Heide showcased a smooth jump shot and an athletic ability that Purdue desperately needs to be successful this season. He shot 5-9 from the floor and 3-4 from behind the arc, and also grabbed 3 rebounds and dished out 2 assists in 17 minutes. That type of performance through the early parts of the season will translate to more minutes against higher quality opponents.
Coming out for the second half, Samford appeared to want to try and get the ball out of Edey’s hands by playing zone. Purdue quickly pulled the Bulldogs out of that concept by scoring 20 points in the first 7 minutes of the second half. Three-pointers hit by Cam Heide, Fletcher Loyer, and Trey Kaufman-Renn along with two dunks by Zach Edey pushed the score to 72-24.
The reigning National Player of the Year, Zach Edey, played only 20 minutes but scored 16 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, has 2 assists, and blocked 4 shots. That type of performance is expected from the Boiler big man, but Braden Smith showed a much more aggressive and confident game based solely on his willingness to take shots as a primary scoring threat. Smith scored 12 points on 4-5 shooting from behind the arc and included 4 rebounds and 7 assists.
Overall, the Boilers shot 16-29 (55.2%) from behind the arc and 34-62 overall from the field (54.8%) while only turning the ball over 15 times (4 of those turnovers came from players who will not play major minutes this season in mop up time near the end of the game). They easily defeated a team that should have been easy to defeat and played with a definite edge throughout the game. That edge was noticeable with Lance Jones picking up a technical foul following an altercation and Zach Edey nearly getting one himself following a tangle up with a Samford player while trying to help Fletcher Loyer up off the floor early in the game. That type of edge was something that was sorely lacking at times last season.
Purdue will look to move to 2-0 when they take on Morehead State, another team who won their conference last season, on November 10th.
Player of the Game:
It would be easy to go with Zach Edey here with his 16 point, 11 rebound, and 4 block night, but freshman Cam Heide stood out for the Boilers in his first official game as a Boilermaker. He went for 13 points on 5-9 shooting overall and grabbed 3 rebounds with 2 assists and 2 blocks. What impressed the most? His 3-4 shooting from behind the arc and his athletic ability to be a high level defender on and off the ball.