Fletcher Loyer: 27 pts, 1 reb, 3 ast, 5-9 3pt
Braden Smith: 26 pts, 4 reb, 2 ast
Zach Edey: 22 pts, 9 reb, 5 ast
Caleb Love: 29 pts, 6 reb, 3 ast
This Indy Classic certainly lived up to the hype to start. #1 vs #3 in a heavyweight fight and both Purdue and Arizona traded haymakers. The source of life for Purdue was by Fletcher Loyer, who would hit some 3’s, drive the lane to pick up fouls, and jump passing lanes for steals. Zach Edey had a harder time getting to the rim against Oumar Ballo. The staggering part of the first half, besides Loyer going off, was the amount of free throws for each team. Purdue ended the half with 3 and Arizona with 2. Normally, we chalk that up to refs swallowing whistles but unlike previous games, the first half simply didn’t have many fouls. At the under-4 timeout, Purdue was amidst a big run to go up 39-30, the largest lead of the half to that point. Then, Braden Smith came alive as well, making easy work of the Arizona defense to get to the rim for layups. Braden would also send the pro-Boiler crowd in Gainbridge Fieldhouse into a frenzy by hitting multiple 3’s in the last few minutes. Purdue would lead at the half 49-38 with Loyer scoring 18 and Smith scoring 14. Edey also had 9 and 3 for Purdue.
The second half saw Purdue come out running and draining shots. Just over 5 minutes in, Loyer and Smith both added 7 more points and Purdue shot 7-10 overall to stretch the lead to 15. Caleb Love kept Arizona close, scoring 9 of Arizona’s 14 to start. Arizona would start to clamp down on defense and get the lead down to 10 for the under-12 timeout. The run was predominantly on when Purdue put Ethan Morton and Mason Gillis on the floor and the offense stagnated. Zach Edey would also miss a few hooks as well. The run would continue and Arizona would go on an 11-0 run to get the lead down to 4 (an Edey shot was taken back after basket interference was initially called). Arizona switched to a zone defense that gave Purdue fits. Matt Painter would take a timeout with 10:22 left and Purdue up 67-63. Two Zach Edey free throws would end the nearly 6-minute drought for Purdue. Big shots by Jones, Smith, and Edey would push the lead to 10 with 3:26 remaining. The lead would remain at 10 until a Caleb Love 3 with 1:50 left. A Fletcher Loyer runner would push it back to 9 and the teams would start the foul game with under a minute. The Wildcats were in the bonus and getting free throws each way down. Arizona would not go down easy, getting the lead down to 6 with 29.5 seconds left. A very hard foul against Lance Jones sent him to the line for two free throws. He made 1 to push the lead to 7. Arizona would get back to the line but the game was basically finished. A Whose House call began to erupt and Purdue would take it, 92-84.
Both of these teams are Final Four caliber. It’s that simple. Purdue extends its regular season non-conference win streak to 33. Purdue will have 2 more non-con games this year in Mackey against Jacksonville and Eastern Kentucky. Purdue will likely bounce back to #1 with the massive win. See y’all Tuesday for Jacksonville!
OH. AND I’M NO LONGER THE JINX!