Zach Edey: 30 pts, 20 reb, 3 ast, 3 blk
Lance Jones: 14 pts, 4 reb, 4 ast
Braden Smith: 6 pts, 4 reb, 11 ast
Nick Kern Jr: 18 pts, 4 reb, 1 ast
The writing was on the wall, right? Purdue took a shot to the chin in Lincoln on Tuesday and Zach Edey struggled for the second straight game. Enter the Penn State Nittany Lions. PSU has had some rough times as they tried to move on from the Micah Shrewsberry era. Under former VCU head coach, Mike Rhoades, the Nittany Lions came in 8-8 without a road victory. It looked like Purdue took a few minutes to get going, committing three turnovers in the first four minutes. At the 15:36 mark, Penn State led 10-8 and then Zach Edey and Purdue played pissed off. Purdue would go on a scorching 27-2 run over the next 6:11. Up 35-12 now, the lead would remain around 20 as the teams started to battle back and forth. Penn State relied on Kayne Clary, who had 13, and former Purdue commit, Jameel Brown, who finished the half with 9. No other PSU player had more than 5 points. For Purdue, this was a Zach Edey show as he finished the half with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Every Purdue player except Ethan Morton would score in the half, and the Boilermakers would go into halftime up 56-36. The 56 points was the most in a half for Purdue this season.
The second half provided no doubt that Purdue’s lead was ever in jeapordy. The formula was simple: get the ball in deep and let Zach Edey go to work. From there Edey would get the ball back out for rotations or just dominate inside. The Purdue lead never fell below 16 as Zach Edey finished with the second 30 point, 20 rebound, 3 assist, 3 block game since 2011. The only knock on Purdue was that they looked lackadaisical on defense here and there, allowing easy cuts and layups for Penn State. That’s the difference between Purdue winning by 17 and them winning by 30. Purdue also ended the game with 14 turnovers against the Big Ten’s leading team in steals. The subs of Wadell, Berg, Martin, and Barrett would play the waning minutes to a loud student section screaming “Whose House? Our House!” as Purdue got back on track at home.
This was the kind of get-back game Purdue and more importantly, Zach Edey, needed. Zach has been off to a slow start in 2024 and this game feels like a catapult into the stretch run of the season. Purdue will need to keep this momentum going into next Tuesday at Indiana. So far, there have only been 8 road victories in Big Ten play in 36 games. Purdue wants to add to that list in Assembly Hall. Boiler Up!