Purdue drains 15 triples, destroys Morehead State, 90-56
(AP) If No. 15 Purdue continues to shoot 3-pointers with the accuracy it did Saturday against Morehead State, the Boilermakers will have the potential for a special season.
Freshman guard Carsen Edwards scored 16 points, and Purdue made 15 of 29 attempts from 3-point range – 11 in the first half – on the way to a 90-56 victory.
“When you look at their big men (Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas), you kind of have to start there, but you learn quickly that Purdue is a very balanced team,” Morehead State acting head coach Preston Spradlin said. “When defending them, you have to pick your poison.”
The Boilermakers (6-2), coming off a Wednesday loss at No. 14 Louisville in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, used a 15-0 first-half run to stretch a 10-9 lead to 25-9, and Purdue continued to pull away.
Dakota Mathias added 14 points, Swanigan and P.J. Thompson had 13 each for Purdue and the 7-foot-2 Haas had 11 points and five rebounds.
Miguel Dicent had 11 points for Morehead State (2-5), which played without coach Sean Woods, who has been suspended with pay since Nov. 22, when the university launched an official investigation into Woods’ treatment of players.
Purdue made 11 of 20 from 3-point range during the first half when it built a 47-25 lead. Carsen Edwards, who made his first start in place of slumping Vince Edwards, and Mathias made four 3-pointers each in the first half.
“There are a lot of people on the team who are able to shoot the ball,” Carsen Edwards said. “The shots were falling today, and people were hot, so we tried to keep getting the ball to the hot hand and keep making shots.”
Thompson said that the 6-8 Swanigan, who had nine rebounds, and Haas always will be the focus of the Purdue offense.
“The bigs are our bread and better,” said Thompson, who was 3 of 5 from 3-point range. “We definitely want to work inside-out. It looks like the more we get the ball inside, the easier it is for us shooters, because (Swanigan and Haas) get so much attention with double teams. Then, we get wide open 20-footers.”
Purdue coach Matt Painter was most pleased that the Boilermakers, who had been averaging 15.7 turnovers, were guilty of only nine Saturday, including three during the final 20 minutes.
“We have been emphasizing turnovers the whole season, and today really was no different in terms of how other teams have played us defensively,” Painter said. “We also have had people not zone us, and we still have had turnovers. Today was a good sign that we bounced back after a loss on the road (at Louisville) and played well.”
The Boilermakers played without fifth-year graduate student transfer point guard Spike Albrecht, who suffered a back injury in a Nov. 18 victory against Georgia State and battled through the pain in the Louisville game. Painter said Albrecht is out indefinitely.
Morehead State: With Woods suspended indefinitely, the Eagles are a distracted basketball team, and it shows as their losing streak reached five on Saturday, including 0-3 for acting coach Spradlin.
Purdue: It’s a byproduct of opposing defenses centering their attention on Boilermaker big men Swanigan and Haas, but Purdue entered this game leading the Big Ten in 3-point field goal shooting percentage at 41.8 and made 55 percent from beyond the arc during the opening half on Saturday.
While it did not play well until late in the game Wednesday at No. 14 Louisville, Purdue has a chance to move up in the next AP Top 25 after playing very well in Saturday’s 34-point victory. Only 2016 NCAA champion Villanova and 2013 NCAA champ Louisville have beaten the Boilermakers.
With junior forward Vince Edwards struggling, Painter inserted freshman guard Carsen Edwards – no relation to Vince – into Saturday’s starting lineup, and the first-year player made 6 of 12 shots, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range.
“He gave us some additional quickness,” Painter said of Carsen Edwards. “He can drive and shoot it. Sometimes, you are just searching for things at this time of the season. Vince and Carsen will continue to play a lot.”
Morehead State: The Eagles do not play until going to Lipscomb on Dec. 10.
Purdue: The Boilermakers travel to New York City for a Tuesday night game against Arizona State in the Jimmy V. Classic.