Zach Edey stands out as Purdue’s main offensive weapon and not just because he’s 7 feet 4 inches tall. He has led the Boilermakers in scoring in all but a handful of games this season.
In their last outing, they showed that it’s not always the “Edey show” at the offensive end. No. 3 Purdue will look for its fourth consecutive Big Ten victory on Monday afternoon when the Boilermakers visit Michigan State in East Lansing.
Edey attempted only seven field goals and five free throws against Nebraska on Friday but the Boilermakers (16-1, 5-1 Big Ten) cruised to a 73-55 win.
Freshman Fletcher Loyer stole the spotlight, scoring a season-high 27 points and adding three assists. Mason Gillis and Braden Smith also reached double figures.
“I like our weapons, I like our guys, I like our skill level,” said Matt Painter, who recorded his 400th coaching victory at Purdue. “We just can’t try to do it all right when we sub in. We’re the No. 1 efficient offense in the country right now, but I think we can still grow. And I think we have more weapons than just Zach. The one thing about Zach that makes it so unique is you have a decision to make on what you’re going to do and it’s a big decision.”
Edey didn’t mind seeing his teammates get more touches.
“I don’t really care about how many points I get,” said Edey, who is averaging 21.3 points and 13.2 rebounds.
Loyer has reached double figures in his last four games. He made half of his 12 3-point attempts against Nebraska.
“We knew all week that the defense they play with sitting low on Zach we’d have a lot of kickout shots, a lot of opportunities for me, so I just needed to be ready to shoot,” Loyer said. “He did a great job of being patient and kicking out.”
Michigan State (12-5, 4-2) saw its seven-game winning streak snapped with a 75-66 loss at Illinois on Friday night.
The Spartans were outscored 42-29 in the second half and failed to make a 3-pointer in the game (0-for-7).
“It’s a road game and it was a really good environment out there,” forward Joey Hauser said. “It’s always hard to bounce back in those situations, but we fought back hard. We didn’t really make any big shots down the stretch. We had a couple of them there, but they did a really good job. In different games in different situations, I think we’ll bounce back.”
Forward Malik Hall suffered an ankle injury in the second half. It’s unlikely he’ll play on Monday.
“I’m proud of my team in some ways and very disappointed in others,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “In fairness to my players, I think it was total fatigue … and the injury, it just really hurt us. So I’m still proud of my team. I mean, we competed, and we did everything we had to do, we just kind of ran out of gas.”
This is the first of two regular-season meetings between the Boilermakers and Spartans. They’ll square off again on Jan. 29 on Purdue’s home court.
–Field Level Media