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No. 23 Purdue uses 3-pointers to rout No. 25 Northwestern

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — When junior forward Vince Edwards rediscovered his shooting touch Wednesday night, it gave No. 23 Purdue a whole new look.

Perhaps the transformation will come in time to make a Big Ten title push.

Edwards scored 17 points and knocked down a season-high five 3-pointers, leading the Boilermakers to an 80-59 rout over No. 25 Northwestern.

“I was just being confident and having fun,” Edwards said after his best game since mid-December. “I just played hard and didn’t even think about it, just playing the way I know how to play.”

If Edwards keeps having this much fun, opponents certainly won’t because of Purdue’s one-two punch.

Of course, Caleb Swanigan did his customary inside work — 24 points and 16 rebounds for his 19th double-double of the season. But with Edwards & Co. shooting so well, the Wildcats never had a chance.

Purdue diced up the conference’s best 3-point defense by going 9 of 14 in the first half and finishing 12 of 23. Over the last three games, the Boilermakers (18-5, 7-3) are 37 of 69 from beyond the arc (53.6 percent).

If they can keep it up, they will be tough to beat — as Northwestern (18-5, 7-3) found out.

“The 3-point shooting was certainly the story of the game in the first half,” Wildcats coach Chris Collins said. “They’re a very good team and they got us tonight.”

The Wildcats’ six-game winning streak in conference play ended on a night when they were without Scottie Lindsey, their leading scorer. He stayed home because of the flu and will have some extra time to recuperate while Northwestern has an open weekend.

Without Lindsey, Northwestern wasn’t the same.

Bryant McIntosh returned to his home state and finished with 22 points but was the only Wildcats player to reach double figures. Northwestern finished with its second-lowest scoring total of the season.

Purdue took control with a 12-0 run midway through the first half, extended the lead to 45-23 at halftime and pushed the margin to 26 early in the second half.

The Wildcats couldn’t get closer than 14 after that.

“When Vince Edwards made the shots, that opened things up,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “And we needed Vince to have some positive reinforcement.”

BIG PICTURE

Northwestern: The Wildcats came up one win short of matching the longest Big Ten winning streak in school history. But without Lindsey, perhaps that should have been expected. While a road loss to a ranked team without their best player shouldn’t hurt their NCAA Tournament cause, it could knock the Wildcats out of next week’s AP Top 25 poll .

Purdue: The Boilermakers rebounded from a loss at Nebraska with an impressive home victory. Purdue has now won at least 12 home games in each of the last 12 seasons. If they maintain the balance they had Wednesday, the Boilermakers could rise again in the Top 25 — and the conference standings.

BOUNCE-BACK KIDS

The Boilermakers have not lost consecutive games this season. In fact, they didn’t lose two in a row during the 2015-16 regular season, either. The last time Purdue dropped two straight regular-season games was March 2015, at Ohio State and Michigan State.

NO PANIC

Collins didn’t sound too worried about the loss.

“This is just a hard building and a great place to play,” he said, reminding people not to overreact about a team that is 4-2 in conference road games. “If you get a deficit, it’s hard to climb out of it.”

UP NEXT

Northwestern: Returns home to host in-state rival Illinois next Tuesday.

Purdue: Visits No. 17 Maryland on Saturday for its second straight game against a ranked foe.

VIDEO: LaVar Ball gets female ref replaced after threatening to pull team from court

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A female referee was removed from a Big Ballers game after LaVar Ball threatened to pull his team from the court for the second time in a week.

The referee called Ball for a technical foul, which sparked the confrontation, but both Ball and an adidas rep told ESPN’s Jeff Borzello that the reason the ref was pulled was because she and Ball had a previous issue:

Before the game was over, Ball would receive a second technical foul and the game was eventually called with two minutes left and Big Ballers losing by 10.

Western Kentucky’s five-star recruit Mitchell Robinson has left campus

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The soap opera that has been Mitchell Robinson’s tenure at Western Kentucky took another on Friday, as the five-star center and top ten prospect in the Class of 2017 has reportedly left campus.

Robinson was a massive coup for Rick Stansbury when he committed to and signed for the Hilltoppers, but it has been non-stop drama since then. Less than two weeks after his commitment, Robinson tweeted that he would be decommitting from WKU before immediately deleting the tweet and claiming that his account was hacked. Robinson did not attend the first session of summer school on campus, and he was in class in the second summer school session and reportedly practicing with the team this month for a trip to Costa Rica, but he cleaned out his dorm room and left the campus last night.

Part of the reason that Robinson opted to go to Western Kentucky was that his godfather, former UNC star Shammond Williams, was an assistant coach on the staff. Williams left the program on July 3rd, and ever since then there have been questions surrounding where Robinson will play this season. There have been rumors that he will be heading overseas for a year before entering the 2018 NBA Draft, and there is also the potential that Robinson could end up transferring to a different college.

The question, however, is whether or not Robinson will be able to transfer and play immediately without sitting out a year since he enrolled in summer school.

Robinson is a 7-foot center and a terrific defensive prospect that is projected as a first round pick next year. If he does get a waiver to transfer, he immediately becomes the best available talent on the market, along with Marvin Bagley III, who is considering reclassifying.

Virginia, Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Vandy in NIT Tip-Off

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NEW YORK (AP) — Virginia and Vanderbilt will meet in one semifinal of the NIT Preseason Tip-Off on Thanksgiving Day at Barclays Center.

Rhode Island and Seton Hall face off in the other semifinal with the winners meeting on Friday, Nov. 24.

This is the third straight year the Tip-Off has been held at Barclays Center. Eventual NCAA champion Villanova won the event in 2015. All games will be televised on ESPNU.

Non-bracketed teams in the NIT Season Tip-Off who will play games at campus sites are: Austin Peay, Fairleigh Dickinson, Monmouth, Oakland City and UNC Asheville.

Miles Bridges explain why he returned to Michigan State

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Miles Bridges changed the landscape of the 2017-18 college basketball season on April 13.

The Michigan State forward spurned the NBA for another year in East Lansing. The decision not only meant that Bridges was a frontrunner for national player of the year, but solidified the Spartans as a national title contender.

But Bridges’ choice to return was still puzzling to many. The 6-foot-7 forward was projected as a lottery pick. Bridges explained his decision to Mike Decourcy of Sporting News in a story published on Thursday.

“He says, ‘You know what, Coach? I want to get better. I don’t want to be in the D-League. I’ve got buddies that are, and I just want to make sure when I go, I’m ready,’ ” Izzo recalled to Sporting News. “I looked at him and I said, ‘Done deal.’ For me, that was a done deal. It was a reasonable, sensible argument.”

Agents, friends, reporters, scouts, acquaintances, fans, strangers and family members — oh and, as we said, coaches — all had one opinion about how Bridges should spend the next year of his life. Miles had another, opposing, viewpoint.

Bridges told Decourcy that support came from his teammates, many of whom were returning to the team as well. Assuming the backcourt of Cassius Winston and Josh Langford make a leap forward, as well as incoming freshman Jaren Jackson providing an immediate impact, the Spartans’ title hopes could become a reality.

Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 boards, 2.1 assists and 1.5 blocks as a freshman at Michigan State. He’s rated as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft by DraftExpress.

Four conferences sign on to basketball officiating alliance

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Four more Division I conferences will join a men’s basketball officiating alliance formed last year by the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East, the Atlantic 10 and Colonial Athletic Association.

The Big South, the Ivy League, the Northeast and the Patriot League are joining ahead of the 2017-18 season, according to announcements from the leagues Thursday. The alliance launched last summer for conferences to work together on officiating matters and enhance training, development, recruitment, retention and feedback for officials.

John Cahill, the Big East’s supervisor of officials, and Bryan Kersey, the ACC’s coordinator of men’s basketball officiating, will continue to lead the alliance operations.

ACC commissioner John Swofford says the new additions to the alliance “provide an even greater opportunity to build chemistry and quality” across the officiating ranks.