(WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.)— The No. 1 Purdue Boilermakers achieved a 77-61 victory against the Michigan State Spartans Sunday. The Spartans threw everything but the kitchen sink at Zach Edey, but could not hold the 7-foot, 4-inch, center back from scoring a career high 38 points.
“Give the fans something to cheer about, but have fun with it,” is what Purdue Basketball Head Coach Matt Painter had that written on the team whiteboard Sunday.
Mackey Arena was at full capacity and dawned a white uniform look around the court with Purdue wearing their throwback threads. The contest kept close till near the end of the first half when Edey declared the paint his. Scoring 10 of the last 12 points in the final five minutes of the half 37-22.
David Jenkins Jr. checked in with a little over a minute left in the first half. Jenkins Jr. put an exclamation mark three-pointer at the buzzer for a Purdue 40-22 lead. With 16 points off the hot hand of Zach Edey, and Joey Hauser having 0 points to contribute as the leader in points averaged for the Spartans.
Out of the half, Spartans Coach Tom Izzo game planned to go right at Edey. Though, a catch and score putting his total points in the paint at 16, had Mackey Arena erupt with Edey rising through the contact and scoring over two defenders.
A busted lip bleeding onto the white shirt of Edey took him off the floor as the small group for Purdue took on the task to hold a 20-point lead in the second half.
Michigan State did not hold back from attacking the rim with the absence of the 7-foot center. The Spartans were able to cut the lead down to 13, 53-40, till Edey rejoined the contest.
With all eyes on Edey, the Spartans allowed Fletcher Loyer to find space around the arc for a three pointer to get the Boilermakers to a 69-54 lead. 18,000 people rejoiced to what ultimately was another great separator from the Spartans for the Boilermakers to seal the 77-61 win.
“…This summer, just watching him play I was like, this guy is the best player in the country…,” Fletcher Loyer on playing with Zach Edey.
Zach Edey walked into the post-game press conference wearing a shirt his mom made reading on the back “He ain’t just tall is eh?” With a swollen lip and a new career high in points Edey was all about the physical matchup to score 38.
“I like playing physical, I like those kind of games… and that’s what got me going.”
Edey had 32 points and 17 rebounds in the last meeting against Michigan State when they just escaped with a 64-63 win in the Breslin Center.
Coach Matt Painter discussed being number one and what his message meant holding the highest status in the nation. “If you’re always trying to please people that don’t exist… That’s hard… The more you can do your job, the more you can have fun.”
The Purdue Boilermakers sit atop of the AP Top 25 poll in front of Tennessee (18-3) and Houston (20-2).
Still plenty more games till the tournament, the Boilermakers gear up for a battle with Penn State on Wednesday, February 1st, tip-off is at 6:30PM.
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