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No. 2 Purdue pounds Xavier in toughest test of season so far

No. 2 Purdue pounds Xavier in toughest test of season so far

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WISH) — The Purdue Boilermakers proved their No. 2 national ranking yet again Monday night as they downed the Xavier Musketeers in Mackey Arena.

The 83-71 win marks the first victory against Xavier in six games for the Boilers, snapping Purdue’s second-longest active losing streak against any one opponent.

Last year’s National Player of the Year Zach Edey once again dominated the paint for Purdue. Edey finished with 28 points, 10 of those coming from free throws. He also snagged his second double-double of the young season with 11 rebounds. Both of those stats are season highs after three games. Sophomores Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer recorded double digits with 12 and 11 points respectively.

“If you watch (Edey), you expect him to make every shot,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “What’s the cool thing about it is, so does he. He missed eight shots, and he’s not happy about it. His gauge isn’t somebody else. His gauge is himself. As long as we win, I know he’s happy. I thought he did some really good things. They stayed home a lot and made him make some tough post moves. He just has to keep staying with it. I thought he did a good job.”

The first half was a back-and-forth battle. Xavier’s defense held Purdue to 37 points, the fewest in any first half so far this season. Freshman Myles Colvin knocked in a three with seven seconds left to put Purdue up 37-29 at the break. The Boilers’ shooting stayed strong throughout the first, making 48.4 percent of field goals.

Purdue carried the momentum into the second half, extending the lead to 10 points. Colvin made another clutch three-pointer with 6:25 left in the second half to push the Purdue lead to 14, the largest of the night. Purdue never looked back from there.

“Obviously, Myles made huge shots for us,” Painter said. “He finishes the first half which was a big momentum basket, and then he sits there for a while and makes that big basket when they go zone. That was key for us.”

“I think that (Myles Colvin and Caleb Furst) stepped up huge,” Loyer said. “Myles obviously came off the bench. It’s not easy to come off the bench and hit big shots like that. When he hit that first one, I thought he might hit two or three more. And Caleb just having that confidence, he kept working on it. We talked a little bit about Xavier not guarding two of our guys, just backing up and clogging up that paint, and when he got that top three and took it without even blinking twice, it looked good right away. I think it’s just the confidence and the hard work that the guys put in to hit those big shots, and those were timely shots for us.”

Purdue ended the game making 50% of field goals, 46.7% past the arc, and missed only three free throws.

Next up, the Boilers head to Hawaii for the Allstate Maui Invitational, with the first matchup Nov. 20 against No. 11 Gonzaga. Purdue will then play either No. 7 Tennessee or Syracuse.

Counting Monday’s Xavier game, Purdue has the potential of having eight of the next nine opponents in the KenPom Top 50, all of which were in the NCAA Tournament last season.