The seventh-place game of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament will be a surprisingly star-studded affair. No. 4 Arizona and No. 16 Purdue, two teams that were among the favorites to win the Bahamas-based event, will meet in the consolation contest Friday evening.
Arizona lost to North Carolina State 90-84 on Wednesday before SMU held the Wildcats to 60 points - by far their season low - in Thursday’s disappointing 66-60 setback. Wildcats stars Allonzo Trier and Deandre Ayton continued to produce in the early portion of the season, but the duo has received very little help. Purdue, meanwhile, has lost to Tennessee and Western Kentucky by a combined seven points over the last two days, prompting guard P.J. Thompson to wonder if his “entitled” team is too relaxed after reaching the Sweet 16 a season ago. “That don’t mean nothing,” Thompson vented to the media. “That just puts a target on your back. And if you’re not mature enough to handle a target on your back, then that stuff that happened this week is going to happen.”
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3
ABOUT ARIZONA (3-2): Trier, who entered the event averaging 30 points per game - tied for the top spot in the nation - has posted 27 and 22 points, respectively, in the first two games. Ayton, meanwhile, had his fifth straight double-double to begin his college career, notching 17 points - his season low to this point - to go along with a season-high 15 boards. Aside from Trier and Ayton, though, the rest of the Wildcats combined for eight buckets Thursday, and the team as a whole committed 20 turnovers.
ABOUT PURDUE (4-2): The Boilermakers’ Isaac Haas matched his season high in points (22) and pulled down six rebounds in Thursday’s loss, while Thompson registered a season-high 19 points. Thompson has made at least three 3-pointers in four of Purdue’s six games and is 12-of-20 from the arc over the last three contests. Vincent Edwards, on the other hand, is shooting 7-of-26 in the Bahamas and has missed eight of his 10 3-pointers over the previous two outings.
1. Arizona had only one steal against SMU.
2. Trier is 3-of-14 from the arc over the last two games.
3. Purdue’s reserves totaled eight points in 44 minutes Thursday.
PREDICTION: Arizona 69, Purdue 66