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Braden Smith flirts with triple-double again as No. 1 Purdue routs Texas Southern 99-67

Braden Smith #3 of the Purdue Boilermakers brings the ball up court against the Texas Southern Tigers during the second half at Mackey Arena on Nov. 28, 2023 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue coach Matt Painter understood Braden Smith was chasing history Tuesday night.

He just wasn’t going to let it happen by running up the stats.

For the second time this season, Smith flirted with posting the second triple-double in the Boilermakers’ storied history, settling instead for leading newly minted No. 1 Purdue to a 99-67 rout over Texas Southern.

Smith finished with 19 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds after having one board added with a postgame scoring change. Joe Barry Carroll, a No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, is the only Purdue player to achieve the feat, which came in December 1977.

“There’s nothing wrong with it if he’s still in the game,” Painter said. “But once you take somebody out, you don’t cheat the game. You don’t put him back in to get a record, which is really cool, right? I want him to get it, but not at the expense of the other coach.”

Just 2 1/2 weeks ago, Smith joked he was upset he didn’t get his shot at a triple-double when he had 11 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds in a blowout win over Morehead State.

This time, he even faked putting himself back in the game, a move that made Painter chuckle.

Zach Edey added 15 points and six rebounds as the Boilermakers (7-0) extended the nation’s longest regular-season winning streak against nonconference opponents to 31 games. Purdue was playing for the first time since ascending to No. 1 in the nation Monday after taking home the Maui Invitational title by winning three games in three days against teams ranked among the top 11 last week.

The Tigers (0-7) were led by Zytarious Mortle with 25 points and six rebounds. Preseason conference player of the year P.J. Henry scored 10.

Texas Southern has dropped eight straight, including last season’s NCAA Tournament loss to the same Fairleigh Dickinson team that upset top-seeded Purdue a few days later.

But containing Edey — and Smith — proved too difficult.

“He’s tough on the offensive end of the floor, and he’s gritty on the defensive end,” Tigers coach Johnny Jones said of Smith. “I think he has almost like a football toughness about him.”

Purdue scored the first 13 points before Texas Southern managed to fight back within 31-24 late in the first half. But after scoring the final five points to take a 44-29 lead at the break, the Boilermakers went on a 14-0 run early in the second to build a 60-33 lead.

BIG PICTURE

Texas Southern: Yes, the team went winless on its opening seven-game road trip. But the three-time defending Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament champs played Arizona State, Virginia, Creighton and Purdue. And the Tigers’ last three foes were all NCAA Tournament teams last March. Clearly, better days lie ahead for the league’s preseason favorite.

Purdue: Painter’s team didn’t play its best half after returning from Hawaii, but the Boilermakers didn’t need to. They kept their school-record winning streak against non-league foes intact by completing their third straight undefeated November.

UP NEXT

Texas Southern: Doesn’t play again until Dec. 16 against North Carolina A&T in Las Vegas.

Purdue: Plays at Big Ten foe Northwestern on Friday, where the Boilermakers lost in February the last time they were ranked No. 1.