Purdue hands No. 2 Arizona third straight loss
For No. 18 Purdue, it was a game of “resiliency,” coach Matt Painter said after the Boilermakers defeated No. 2 Arizona 89-64 on Friday in the seventh-place game in the Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Each team had lost their two previous games and had something to prove. Purdue showed it can play with one of the more talented teams in the country. And Arizona showed it has a lot of work to do.
“All our guards — Dakota (Mathias) started on (Allonzo) Trier — and Carson (Edwards) was on him too and did a good job,” Painter said on his postgame radio show. “For us to respond like this with three games in three days ... it showed some resiliency.
“We had a couple disappointing games, but this gave us some bounce back and momentum going into our (next) game, a huge a game on Tuesday against Louisville.”
Arizona guard Allonzo Trier, who went into the game averaging 27 points per game, had just eight points.
Mathias, a senior guard, had a game-high 24 points to lead four Purdue players in double figures. Carson Edwards added 22 points, Vince Edwards had 17 and Isaac Haas scored 12 points for Purdue (5-2).
“Dakota had a huge game,” Painter said. “He’s been efficient for us. Even when he doesn’t make shots, he’s done a great job of taking care of the ball and giving us assists. Vince was really good in the first half.”
Painter called it “a great team effort.”
Purdue avoided its first three-game losing streak since Dec. 13-22, 2014, and Arizona (3-3) suffered its first three-game losing streak since Feb. 13-25, 2010, in Sean Miller’s first season as Arizona’s head coach.
Additionally, this is the worst six-game start for the Wildcats under Miller since his first season at Arizona in 2009-10.
“Nothing is as bad as it seems, and certainly we probably weren’t nearly as good as everybody thought we were before we traveled down here, so we’ll use this as a learning lesson,” Miller said. “Clearly we’re gonna bounce back and be a much better team. There’s a few things we have to work on and fix.”
Purdue, which shot 57 percent from the floor, held a comfortable second-half lead, one that reached 20 points several times, that last coming with 11:37 remaining.
Arizona was able to go on an 8-0 run behind freshman Brandon Randolph’s back-to-back baskets to make it 71-59 with 8:20 left but that was the closest Arizona could get.
“Tonight we were outmatched,” Miller said. “They were the better team. It felt that way early, it felt that way throughout.
“They are an excellent team, well coached and the way they move the ball when they are making shots, they can beat anybody in the country.”
Purdue got hot again behind Mathias, who made it 79-61 on a 17-foot jumper. Purdue went on a 16-2 run late.
“We showed that we can be a gritty and tough team, we’ve just got to show it every day,” Mathias said. “Can’t take anybody lightly, there’s a lot of great teams out there. You’re going out there to compete, you’re going out there to win.
“We had a great opportunity, they’re the No. 2 team in the country, so to have that fall in our lap like it did was a great opportunity for us and we made the most out of it.”
Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton had 22 points and eight rebounds but fouled out with 4:32 left.
Purdue jumped out early in the opening half, grabbing a 10-4 lead. Vince Edwards hit the first of his two 3-pointers to make it 16-6. Minutes later, Nojel Eastern hit a free throw to make it 23-11 with 11:05 left in the half.
And yet Purdue wasn’t done giving Arizona fits. Purdue outscored Arizona 16-8 midway through the half to eventually take a 43-25 lead after hitting its fifth consecutive shot.
Purdue center Matt Haarms was able to neutralize Arizona’s height with five blocks for the game. He added six points.
Vince Edwards had 14 first-half points, and Carson Edwards had 15 points at the half.
NOTES: Arizona is still without sophomore sensation Rawle Alkins, who has been out all season and could be out another month with a foot injury. ... Wildcats freshman C Deandre Ayton had his double-double streak stopped at five games. ... There’s a lot in common with Purdue coach Matt Painter and Arizona’s Sean Miller. Painter has 10 NCAA Tournaments as does Miller. They are tied for the most among active coaches under age 50 ... Purdue entered the tournament averaging 102 points a game and 56.8 percent from the floor. It’s shooting 39 percent.