It wasn’t a busy Thursday night on the college hoops calendar, but there was enough action to keep you occupied once Derrick Henry made it clear that football wasn’t going to be interesting.
1. CARSEN EDWARDS STRUGGLED AGAIN, BUT MADE WINNING PLAYS
Edwards entered this season as a favorite to win the National Player of the Year award, and while his raw numbers have been pretty impressive — he did enter Thursday night averaging 24.4 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 boards — his efficiency has been down and he’s struggled to find a rhythm in games.
That’s not necessarily a surprise, mind you. Purdue is shuffling a number of pieces into new and bigger roles this season, and that takes some time. But we are approaching a point where we should start asking just how much of a concern this is. The Big Ten is loaded this year, and the Boilermakers are struggling to find out where, exactly, their supporting cast resides.
Here’s the good news: Purdue beat No. 23 Maryland, 62-60, an important home win in a league race where 9-11 could be good enough to get into the tournament. The better news: They won while Edwards went 4-for-15 from the floor, as their star had a pair of assists and forced a critical turnover down the stretch. Performances matter, but at the end of the day, a win is a win is a win, and Edwards got them over the line.
2. NO. 18 IOWA LANDS ANOTHER IMPRESSIVE WIN
As if the Big Ten hadn’t already proven enough.
Iowa shook off a 22-point loss to Michigan State on Thursday night to lay the smack down on in-state rival Iowa State. The final score was 98-84, but the game never really felt in doubt in the second half. Tyler Cook led the way with 26 points and 11 boards, while Isaiah Moss chipped in with 20 of his own.
Worth noting for Iowa State: Lindell Wigginton did not play. He’s been out since the second game of the season with a strained foot.
3. ARIZONA AVOIDS EMBARRASSMENT
The Wildcats trailed by 12 points at halftime against Utah Valley State, but Brandon Randolph scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half — including hitting four threes in the opening four minutes of the half — to erase the deficit and help ensure that the Wildcat would extend their non-conference home-winning streak to 52 games.
Brandon Williams added 15 points, 10 boards and five assists for Sean Miller’s club, who improved to 7-2 on the season. Arizona replaced all five starters off of last year’s team and not much was expected out of the Wildcats this year, but we’re now more than a month into the season, and the only losses to their name are against top ten teams Auburn and Gonzaga.