Purdue coach Matt Painter wanted sophomore guard Carsen Edwards, the only freshman in the Big Ten last season to record at least 45 3-pointers and 35 steals, to become a more efficient player this season. With the 6-0 shooting guard averaging 23.7 points over the last three contests, Edwards and the 13th-ranked Boilermakers seek a ninth straight victory when Lipscomb visits on Thursday to conclude non-conference play.
Edwards scored 26 points, one off his career high, and made a career-high six 3-pointers in eight attempts to lift his percentage beyond the arc to 47.4 percent in his last three games as Purdue shot 58.6 percent from the field on Dec. 21 to win its 15th straight home game in a 97-48 victory over Tennessee State. Last year as a freshman, Edwards averaged 10.3 points but shot just 38.2 percent from the floor. This season, Edwards is averaging 17.7 points in 26.9 minutes and shooting 50.9 percent from the floor, 36.4 from the arc and 81.4 from the line. “He’s letting things come to him. I think the more he’s patient and picks his spots, the more efficient he’ll be in scoring the ball,” Painter said after the game. “He did a good job of just getting into a rhythm on his 3-point shots. That’s important for him. Take what the defense gives you. Don’t have a predetermined mindset. If you have the shot take it, if not just move it.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
ABOUT LIPSCOMB (9-4): The Bisons have three starters returning from a team that won 20 games last season, and they are off to their best start in the NCAA era (since 2002-03). The leader is 6-5 junior guard Garrison Mathews (20.6 points on 47.3 percent shooting, 4.1 rebounds, 34 3-pointers), who has already been named the Atlantic Sun’s Player of the Week three times this season, earning his latest after torching Navy for 27 points on 8-of-11 shooting on Dec. 21. Mathews gets help from 6-8 junior Rob Marberry (13.9 points, 6.2 boards) and sophomore guard Kenny Cooper (9.3 points, 3.9 assists, 2.1 steals).
ABOUT PURDUE (12-2): Senior point guard P.J. Thompson tallied 17 points, two off his season high, and 7-3 freshman Matt Haarms posted a career-high 14 points with six rebounds and three blocks against Tennessee State. The center tandem of 7-2 senior Isaac Haas (14.5 points on 62 percent shooting, 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 blocks in 21.4 minutes) and Haams (5.7 points on 57 percent shooting, 4.1 boards, 2.9 blocks) combine to average 20.2 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game in a combined 39.7 minutes. Seniors Dakota Mathias and Vincent Edwards each score more than 13 points a game; Mathias leads the team in assists (five per game) and 3-pointers (35), while Edwards leads in rebounds (8.4).
1. Carsen Edwards is the only guard in the Big Ten averaging over 17 points and shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. The last conference guard to hit those marks was Ohio State’s Evan Turner in 2009-10.
2. The Boilermakers have outscored opponents on average this season 86.4 to 64.1.
3. Purdue’s 49-point victory over Tennessee State was the 12th-largest victory margin in school history and the 32-point (48-16) halftime lead was also the 12th-largest halftime lead in school history.
PREDICTION: Purdue 94, Lipscomb 58