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Monday, May 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Purdue’s Zach Edey exploits Indiana men’s basketball’s defense, disrupts offense in 87-66 blowout


As Purdue nurtured a 17-point lead with 3:30 remaining in the contest, the Boilermakers’ starters hardly had any reason to be on the floor while Indiana tried to protect its pride, let alone make an effort. Still, 7-foot-4 senior center Zach Edey dove for a loose ball and turned it into an assist for a fastbreak layup, capturing the sentiments of Indiana men’s basketball’s 87-66 rivalry loss Tuesday night.

Edey — who swept all six 2022-23 national player of the year awards — posted a dominant 33-point, 14-rebound performance. In the process, he took advantage of Indiana’s defensive scheme to do as he and the Boilermakers pleased while defensively disrupting the Hoosiers’ front court inside the paint. 

“I didn’t think we played tough enough, and Edey kind of had his way,” Indiana head coach Mike Woodson said postgame. 

Edey started his damage early inside with easy buckets in the paint to counter a red-hot freshman forward Mackenzie Mgbako and keep things even. Then, he did what he excels best at to kickstart a Purdue run — get to the free throw line. 

The Division I leader in free throw attempts coming into the night earned trips to the line on consecutive possessions.  

First, he forced Indiana 7-foot sophomore center Kel’el Ware to commit his second foul of the half with 13:40 left — a monumental moment as Ware didn’t return until 11 minutes later. Then, junior forward Payton Sparks committed a Flagrant 1 foul on Edey, resulting in two made free throws plus an extra possession which resulted in a 3-pointer. 

An Indiana 11-9 deficit quickly became an 18-9 deficit, and it set the tone for the remainder of the half. The play became much more physical while emotions were at a high. In both the physical and mental aspect, Purdue had the upper hand. 

Edey’s offensive advantage inside caused Indiana’s guards to collapse on him heavier than usual, allowing the Boilermakers’ shooters to get open looks. Sophomore guard Fletcher Loyer and fifth-year senior guard Lance Jones took advantage as Loyer knocked down two threes and Jones connected on three triples in the half. 

Defensively, Edey expelled efficiency around the rim. Ware and Sparks combined to shoot 1-for-7 in the first half, and while only rejecting one shot, Purdue’s star impacted nearly every shot around the rim. 

Edey dominated the first 20 minutes on both sides of the floor, and it showed as Indiana trailed by 22 points. With 14 points and eight rebounds, he garnered all the momentum while a dejected Hoosier squad was booed off the court into the locker room. 

Indiana opened the second half scorching, getting as close as 9 points seven minutes into the second frame, but Edey was inevitable. And once again, it was all three phases of his offensive game, plus his defensive impact, that allowed the Boilermakers to settle back in and control the game.  

He started the second half by killing Indiana’s momentum with a pair of free throws, then drew attention and opened the floor for Loyer to make another 3-pointer. After that, he got back to work inside.  

Considering Ware’s foul trouble and how the first half went, Indiana’s second-half game plan appeared to be shutting down Purdue’s role players and letting Edey will his own way. It worked early on when the Hoosiers made the 17-7 run to open the half, but after a certain point, Edey was too dominant to ignore, and Purdue’s offense found its rhythm again. 

After the Boilers got back on track, they were a runaway train until the final buzzer. The first half’s storylines re-appeared, and the Hoosiers ran out of steam after a furious comeback attempt.  

Edey displayed domination in all areas — he owned the glass, converted 11-of-12 free throws and helped Purdue outscore post-centric Indiana 38-30 in the paint. In order to win, Indiana likely required at least one of those categories to be in its advantage, but instead it couldn’t stop the 7-foot-4 behemoth.  

“You know, we couldn’t get to Edey quick enough,” Woodson said. 

Indiana got outclassed by the same identity it owns — inside domination. Moving forward, if the Hoosiers hope to upset a top-tier Big Ten team, specifically one led by a dominant big, winning the battle in the paint may be the most important aspect of victory. 

Follow reporters Will Foley (@foles24) and Matt Press (@MattPress23) and columnist Daniel Flick (@ByDanielFlick) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season. 

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