No. 18 Purdue gets back on track, throttles No. 2 Arizona at Atlantis
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) Dakota Mathias scored 24 points to help No. 18 Purdue roll past No. 2 Arizona 89-64 in the seventh-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis, sending the Wildcats home with three losses in three days.
The Boilermakers (5-2) had struggled with their shooting through two tournament losses of their own, but shot 57 percent and made 11 of 22 3-point attempts in a break-loose performance.
Carsen Edwards added 22 points in what could have been a possible title-game matchup in the eight-team tournament. Instead, the Boilermakers and Wildcats found themselves playing the final game just to salvage a win.
Now, shockingly, Arizona (3-3) is the lone team leaving the Bahamas with an 0-3 tournament record.
Freshman Deandre Ayton had 22 points before fouling out for the Wildcats, while junior Allonzo Trier – who came in averaging 27.8 points – finished with just eight on 3-for-10 shooting.
Arizona: Paradise turned into a total nightmare for Arizona. There was the opening-game 90-84 loss to North Carolina State that left coach Sean Miller frustrated by his team’s poor defense. Then there was the loss to SMU in which the Wildcats undercut any defensive gains by failing to secure stop-ensuring rebounds. This time, his team offered meager defensive resistance to a hot-shooting team that quickly gained confidence with each possession. And that raises the question: how far will the Wildcats fall in Monday’s AP Top 25? Or will they stay in the rankings at all?
Purdue: The Boilermakers couldn’t hold leads in their first-round overtime loss to Tennessee, then got out-toughed in a loss to Western Kentucky. Still, Mathias had insisted there was plenty to play for. His team came out and proved it, playing with a free-flowing confidence while knocking down open look after open look to reboot their suddenly sputtering offense. Purdue shot just 39 percent from the field and 33 percent from behind the arc in the first two tournament games, but had no trouble tearing through Arizona’s defense.
Arizona: The Wildcats host Long Beach State on Wednesday.
Purdue: The Boilermakers host No. 19 Louisville in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday.