No. 16 Purdue breezes past Tennessee State
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue guard Carsen Edwards entered Thursday’s game against Tennessee Tech having made just three of his last 17 attempts from 3-point range.
Edwards broke out of his slump in a big way, scoring 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, including 6-of-8 from behind the arc, as No. 16 Purdue coasted to a 97-48 victory over the Tigers Thursday night in Mackey Arena.
Edwards finished one point shy of his career high, set against IUPUI on Dec. 10, and did not see the floor in the final 9:17.
HIs explanation for the breakout evening was concise: “I just keep shooting. That’s really it. Just keep shooting.”
P.J. Thompson added 17 points —16 of which came in the first half — as well as four rebounds and three assists.
Purdue (12-2) trailed in the opening minutes before mounting a 33-8 run that spanned 14:26 of the first half. The Boilermakers shot 66.7 percent in the first half and led 48-16 at halftime.
Purdue coach Matt Painter said the key to Edwards’ hot shooting was his patience.
“I just think he’s letting some things come to him,” Painter said of Edwards. “The more he picks his spots, the more he’s going to be efficient in scoring the ball for us. He did a good job of just getting into rhythm with his 3-point shots. I think that’s an important thing for him to kind of take what the defense gives you, and not have that predetermined thought.”
Tennessee State (5-6) attempted to play zone defense early, but the Boilermakers used their size advantage to pound the ball inside, outscoring the Tigers 20-0 in the paint in the first half.
Delano Spencer had a team-high 13 points despite shooting 4-of-11 from the field, and Christian Mekowulu added 10 points and four rebounds.
The Tigers lacked any offensive rhythm for all but a 3:26 period early in the second half, when they outscored Purdue 17-7, and shot 6-of-24 from the field in the first half.
“We kind of jumped on them at the start,” Thompson said. “I definitely thought we improved this game. I thought the second half, we kind of relaxed a little bit, but for the most part we did a really good job defensively this game. We held them under 50 points, which is always a goal.”
The Boilermakers reached the bonus with nearly eight minutes remaining in the first half as the Tigers picked up 12 first-half fouls, but shot an uncharacteristic 64 percent from the free-throw line.
Dakota Mathias added seven points and a team-high 10 assists, despite a poor shooting night. Mathias, who entered the game shooting 51.7 percent from the field, finished 2-of-10.
Mathias’ 10 assists tied a career high, and he attributed Purdue’s ball distribution to Tennessee State’s decision to play zone defense.
“We’ve got a lot of unselfish guys,” Mathias said. “A lot of guys had good shots and they passed them up for great shots, so that’s what you’ve got to do against the zone when there’s a lot of holes like that.”
NOTES: The Boilermakers improve to 21-0 all-time against members of the Ohio Valley Conference. ...Tennessee State F Ken’Darrius Hamilton was assessed a technical foul after picking up his fourth personal foul with 18:03 remaining. He averaged 9.8 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game entering the contest, but finished with three points and one rebounds in just six minutes. ... Purdue F Matt Haarms scored a career-high 13 points to go with five rebounds and two blocks. ... This was the first ever meeting between the Purdue and Tennessee State. ... Purdue has now won five games this season by 30 or more points.