Zach Edey dominates inside as No. 3 Purdue rolls to 87-57 win over Morehead State
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Zach Edey started fast again Friday night.
Then the reigning national player of the year enjoyed watching his teammates put away the victory.
Edey finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, Lance Jones scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half and Braden Smith nearly delivered his first triple-double as No. 3 Purdue ran away from Morehead State 87-57.
“His size is unique in itself, but he’s a great player,” coach Preston Spradlin said after his Eagles struggled to match up with the 7-foot-4 Edey. “At 6-11, he’s good enough to be the best player in the country. He’s that good with the skill set and all of those things, so he’s a huge challenge.”
Edey is one of many problems the Boilermakers pose with a focused, deep and talented roster.
Purdue (2-0) broke the school record for most consecutive regular-season wins against non-conference foes with its 26th in a row. The previous mark stood since November 1994. Purdue’s streak, the longest active one in Division I, began following a loss at Miami in December 2020.
And it wouldn’t have been this easy without Jones or Smith, who had 11 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
“You see Lance’s ability to pressure the basketball and how that really helps us,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “And then you see when Braden pushes the ball and how it finds him, whether he’s shooting or driving the ball, how it helps us.”
Riley Minix led the defending Ohio Valley Conference regular-season champions with 18 points. Jordan Lathon had 12 for Morehead State (1-2), which has lost to Alabama and Purdue.
Edey spurred Purdue’s opening 15-0 run with four points, four rebounds and all three of his assists in the first five minutes. And after the Eagles cut the deficit to 26-17 midway through the first half and 42-29 at halftime, Jones made sure they didn’t stand a chance in the second half.
After Kalil Thomas made a 3-pointer to trim the margin to 10, Jones scored eight points in a 15-5 spurt that gave Purdue a 57-37 cushion. Morehead State never got close again.
“Over the past couple days, I’ve kind of been hard on myself about my shooting,” Jones said. “You’re just taking your shot, so I just let it run tonight.”
Morehead State: There’s a reason the Eagles were a near-unanimous favorite to win their second straight league crown. But with only one player taller than 6-foot-8 to match up with Edey, they had no chance against Purdue.
Purdue: Beating Samford and Morehead State may not look impressive on paper. Yet both are coming off league titles and could contend again this season, so it might be a better start than some think.
Two blowout wins to open the season should be enough to keep the Boilermakers among the top five in an 18th consecutive AP poll.
Morehead State: Returns home to face Mercer on Tuesday.
Purdue: Will host Xavier on Monday night.