Zach Edey has 19 points, No. 1 Purdue beats Michigan 75-70

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Zach Edey had 15 of his 19 points in the first half and Fletcher Loyer finished with 17 points to help No. 1 Purdue hold off Michigan 75-70 on Thursday night.

The Boilermakers (20-1, 9-1 Big Ten) had a 15-0 run to go ahead 41-28 lead in the first half after there were 10 lead changes and four ties, but they couldn’t pull away.

The Wolverines (11-9, 5-4) were without standout freshman Jett Howard, who missed the game with an ankle injury, and still hung around until the final seconds.

Joey Baker made a 3-pointer – off the glass – with 5.9 seconds left to pull Michigan within three points, but Purdue’s Brandon Newman sealed the victory with two free throws.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said Michigan slowed down Edey in the second half by pushing him away from the basket.

“They got him out a little more, and got him bottled up,” Painter said.

The 7-foot-4 Edey, though, was too tough to stop early in the game.

“He’s one of the best in the country for a reason,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “He’s very effective, especially if he’s 8 feet and in.”

With size and skills such as a hook shot, the junior center from Toronto scored Purdue’s first seven points and finished the first half 7 of 12 from the field and 1 of 2 at the line.

“He did a great job in the first half, going to his right shoulder and using his left hand,” Painter said. “He made four baskets with his left hand which is huge.”

Freshman Braden Smith had 10 points for the Boilermakers.

Purdue’s defense ultimately denied Michigan’s comeback hopes, holding a 22nd straight opponent to 70 or fewer points.

Hunter Dickinson scored 21, Kobe Bufkin had 16 points and Baker added 11 points for the Wolverines, who have lost four of their last six games.

Dickinson, a 7-1 center, matched up with Edey defensively and pulled him out of the lane offensively by making 3 of 7 3-pointers.

“Half his shots were from the 3, and that’s a little different,” Painter said. “His meat and potatoes are on that block. He’s the real deal.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Boilermakers got the top spot in the AP Top 25 this week after winning six games, a stretch that followed a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 3 that dropped them from No. 1 in the poll. Purdue improved to 7-2 as the top-ranked team.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: Edey can’t beat teams by himself and he’s surrounded by a lot of role players and a potential standout in Loyer. The 6-4 guard was the Big Ten player of the week earlier this month, become the first Boilermaker freshman to win the award since Robbie Hummel in 2008.

“Fletcher is somebody who has played better in the second half, and on the road,” Painter said.

Michigan: Jett Howard’s health is a critical factor for the Wolverines, who will have some work to do over the second half of the Big Ten season to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015. Howard averages 14.6 points and is the most dynamic player on his father’s team.

ROAD WARRIORS

The Boilermakers were away from home for 12 of 23 days, winning all five of their road games. They won at Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan for the first time since the 1997-98 season and beat the Spartans and Wolverines on their home court in the same season for the first time in 12 years.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Hosts Michigan State on Sunday, nearly two weeks after the Boilermakers beat the Spartans by a point on Edey’s shot with 2.2 seconds left.

Michigan: Plays at Penn State on Sunday.

Purdue back at No. 1 in AP Top 25, Alabama right behind

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
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Purdue is back at No. 1 in the AP Top 25. Alabama is right behind the Boilermakers.

Purdue returned to the top spot in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll, moving up two spots after Temple knocked off No. 1 Houston over the weekend. The Boilermakers received 39 first-place votes from a 62-person media panel after a volatile week where just two teams kept the same spot from a week ago.

Alabama climbed two spots to No. 2, picking up 23 first-place votes for its highest ranking since reaching No. 1 in 2002-03. Houston, Tennessee and Kansas State round out the top five.

Purdue (19-1, 8-1 Big Ten) had dropped to No. 3 after four weeks at No. 1 following a loss to Rutgers on Jan. 3, but has since won six straight.

Alabama (17-2, 7-0 SEC) has made a steady climb since being ranked No. 20 in the preseason AP Top 25, moving into the top 10 in early December. The Crimson Tide had lopsided wins over Missouri and Vanderbilt after Darius Miles was dismissed from the team as he faces a murder charge in a fatal shooting near campus.

Alabama coach Nate Oats reached out to Ray Lewis before the Crimson Tide played Vanderbilt last week, sharing a Bible verse suggested by the Hall of Fame linebacker. Alabama ended up beating Vandy by 12 and rolled over Missouri by 21.

“I did see some guys break down postgame,” Oats said. “I think they’ve been bottling some stuff up. We’ve got a job to do. We’ve got to get to the game. We got to the game and took care of business, and then it’s almost like a big relief. The game’s over, and we can let out a sigh of relief.”

COUGARS FALL

Houston moved atop the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Phi Slama Jama of the 1980s earlier this season before a loss to Alabama dropped it back to No. 5.

The Cougars returned to No. 1 on Jan. 9, but their run ended after two weeks with Sunday’s 56-55 loss to Temple. The win was the Owls’ first over a No. 1 team since 2000.

BEATING KU

Kansas State moved up eight spots to No. 5 after outlasting rival Kansas 83-82 at Bramlage Coliseum last week. It’s the Wildcats’ highest ranking since reaching No. 3 in 2010-11.

TCU gave Kansas consecutive losses in the state for the first time since 1989 with a 23-point beatdown at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday. It was one of Bill Self’s worst losses in 20 years as Kansas’ coach and ended the Jayhawks’ 16-game home winning streak.

The No. 14 Horned Frogs moved up three spots in this week’s poll after the win. Kansas, the defending national champion, dropped seven spots to No. 9.

BIG TEN BUMMER

While Purdue has remained near the top of the poll most of the season, the rest of the Big Ten has fallen off. With Rutgers dropping out, the Big Ten has just one AP Top 25 team for the first time since the Feb. 16, 2004, when No. 12 Wisconsin was the conference’s lone ranked team, according to Sportradar.

RISING/FALLING

Kansas State had the week’s biggest jump, followed by No. 4 Tennessee and No. 6 Arizona each climbing five spots. No. 21 Baylor moved up four spots with wins over Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

Gonzaga had the biggest fall, losing eight places to No. 14 after Loyola Marymount ended the Zags’ 75-game home winning streak on Thursday. No. 13 Xavier dropped five spots after a one-point road loss to DePaul.

IN AND OUT

No. 22 Saint Mary’s is ranked for the first time this season after rolling over Pepperdine and Santa Clara last week. No. 25 New Mexico is back in the poll after beating San Jose State and outlasting Boise State in overtime.

A three-point loss to Michigan State knocked Rutgers out of the poll from No. 23. Arkansas dropped out from No. 25 following a loss to Missouri.

Zach Edey scores 32, No. 3 Purdue beats Michigan State 64-63

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Zach Edey made a go-ahead shot at the front of the rim with 2.2 seconds left and finished with a career-high 32 points and 17 rebounds to help No. 3 Purdue hold off Michigan State for a 64-63 win on Monday.

A 51-second sequence earlier in the second half, though, showed just how dominant the 7-foot-4 Edey can be at both ends of the floor.

Edey blocked a shot, had an alley-oop dunk, a defensive rebound and a layup to turn a one-point deficit into a three-point lead.

“He opens up a lot for us,” Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said.

The Boilermakers (17-1, 6-1 Big Ten) have won 17 of their first 18 games, matching a school mark set during the 1987-88 season.

The Spartans (12-6, 4-3) dropped a second straight game after winning seven in a row.

Tyson Walker put Michigan State ahead with 11 seconds remaining with a mid-range jumper, giving him a season-high 30 points, and Edey scored the winner on the ensuing possession.

After Edey’s last basket, A.J. Hoggard’s long inbound pass was knocked out of bounds by Purdue’s Brandon Newman with 1.8 seconds left. That left Tom Izzo with a chance to draw up a play to potentially win the game on Purdue’s end of the court.

Walker was set up with what seemed to be an open jumper on the left wing only to have Boilermakers guard Ethan Morton get a hand up to deflect the shot, leaving it short of the rim.

Purdue freshman guard Fletcher Loyer had 17 points, including a go-ahead free throw with 25.7 seconds left in a game that had the intensity of a matchup in March.

“I’ve known him since he was very young,” Izzo said. “The last give minutes of the game, he just took it over.”

Loyer’s older brother, Foster, played for the Spartans before transferring to Davidson.

Fletcher Loyer, a 6-4 freshman, scored a season-high 27 points Friday night in a win over Nebraska.

“He’s very aggressive, very sure of himself,” Painter said. “He’s not scared of the moment.”

Hoggard had 14 points and eight assists, playing well in the backcourt with Walker.

“I didn’t think we did a very good job of guarding their guards,” Painter said.

Joey Hauser added 10 points for the Spartans, who looked like they were going to be overmatched early in the game.

Purdue led by 13 points with 5:47 to go in the first half, but was ahead by just two at halftime after Michigan State started to make shots and cut down on turnovers.

“We lost the game in the first minutes with the ridiculous turnovers,” Izzo said.

The Spartans surged ahead by five points early in the second half before both teams took turns with the lead in a closely contested game with 13 lead changes and eight ties.

“In my heart I believe we competed well enough to win the game, but give them credit,” Izzo said.

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: Edey’s improved play and conditioning makes his tough to stop and sets up everything for coach Painter’s offense that runs through the junior from Toronto.

“I love playing inside out,” Painter said. “If you don’t have the horses, those plays don’t work.”

Painter said Edey has learned how to stay on the floor.

“When he first got here, he couldn’t pass and couldn’t play without elbowing people in the head,” he said.

Michigan State: Izzo said senior forward Malik Hall will be out “a while,” with a foot injury that is potentially a major setback for a team that lacks front court depth.

“Whether it’s the full year or not, we don’t know,” Izzo said.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Plays at Minnesota on Thursday night.

Michigan State: Hosts No. 23 Rutgers on Thursday night.

Edey scores 30 as No. 1 Purdue surges past Penn State 76-63

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Kyle Ross/USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA — Zach Edey scored 30 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and helped a furious 12-0 run to start the second half as No. 1 Purdue rallied to defeat Penn State 76-63 before a sold-out crowd at the Palestra on Sunday night.

Fletcher Loyer scored 17 points while Braden Smith added 15 to help the Boilermakers improve to 15-1 overall.

“We had some good looks at the basket and good looks from the perimeter,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “Fletcher got some really good looks in the second half after not getting good ones in the first.”

Despite Jalen Pickett’s 26 points, Penn State (11-5, 2-3 Big Ten) fell to 0-13 lifetime when facing the top-ranked team in the nation.

“We have to be better,” Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry said.

Edey, a 7-foot-4 junior center, was a nightmare from the start for the Nittany Lions. He scored Purdue’s first six points of the game, drew double teams most of the night and was able to move the ball from the low block.

Pickett scored 18 of his points in the first half, ending the session with an up and under shovel past Edey’s outstretched arms, giving the Nittany Lions a 37-31 advantage at the halftime buzzer.

“They were hitting really tough shots, and they were knocking them down in the first half,” Edey said. “They hit those scoop shots, so we just kept playing how we wanted to play and things would get better.”

Purdue took the game over in the second half, shooting 66.7% from the floor (18 of 27). Edey scored 18 of his points in the second half while Loyer had 14 in the second half.

“We just kept sticking to what we wanted to do,” Edey said. “We have really good shooters, and they were going down for them. But we started to knock shots down, that opened up some things in the post and we took advantage of it after that.”

The Nittany Lions shot just 11 for 30 from the floor in the second half and 2 of 10 from beyond the 3-point arc. After the game, Shrewsberry expressed frustration about the officiating, which combined to award just three foul shots to the Lions and 10 overall.

“You get frustrated after a while because it’s not a one-time thing – it’s an every-time thing,” said Shrewsberry, who drew a second-half technical foul. “We shot three free throws. It was a really physical game and the game didn’t warrant 10 free throws. Both teams were fouling and if we want to be the best league in the country, then we need the officials to be the best in the country.

“This has nothing to do with Purdue, man. Purdue kicked our (butts) in the second half. That was all them. But I’m always going to fight for my guys.”

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: Any team that will face the Boilermakers will have a matchup issue against Edey, who is dominating in the middle and able to move gracefully in the paint when needed.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions’ bid to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011 would have received a huge boost with a win over Purdue. They have two games against ranked teams in the next nine days – at home against No. 15 Indiana and a trip to No. 14 Wisconsin on Jan. 17 – that would go a long way to helping Penn State’s resume.

TOUGH TICKET

This was the third time that Penn State has brought a Big Ten game to the Palestra as a home team. The Nittany Lions average just under 6,000 people in nine home games at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College. They drew 8,722 on Sunday night even with competition on the Eagles-Giants game six miles down the road at Lincoln Financial Field.

UP NEXT

Purdue: The Boilermakers host Nebraska on Friday night.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions will host No. 15 Indiana on Wednesday night.

No. 1 Purdue headlines AP Top 25; Miami leaps, UNC returns

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Purdue remained atop The Associated Press Top 25 men’s college basketball poll for a third straight week, while preseason No. 1 North Carolina returned to the rankings and New Mexico cracked the poll for the first time in eight years.

The Boilermakers earned 40 of 60 first-place votes in the latest poll, while fellow unbeaten Connecticut earned the other 20 to sit at No. 2 in an unchanged top.

Purdue had never been ranked No. 1 before a one-week stay there last December, and was unranked to start the season. But the Boilermakers made a rapid rise from No. 24 to No. 5 in a one-week span in late November, then climbed to No. 1 on Dec. 12.

The Boilermakers’ win against New Orleans last week marked their first home game with that No. 1 ranking.

“We’ve not had any handouts. We’ve had to work for everything,” coach Matt Painter said afterward, adding: “But we’ve earned it. but we’ve got to keep earning it. This isn’t the season. This is just a third of the season.”

THE TOP TIER

No. 3 Houston, No. 4 Kansas and No. 5 Arizona held their positions as the top five remained in place for a second straight week.

Texas was next at No. 6, followed by Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Gonzaga – the preseason choice at No. 2 that returned to the top 10 after sliding as low as No. 18 earlier this month.

TAR HEELS RETURN

North Carolina is back in the poll at No. 25 after a tumultuous opening to the season.

Returning four starters from last year’s unexpected run to the NCAA title game, the Tar Heels started December by becoming only the sixth team to go from preseason No. 1 to unranked since at least the 1961-62 season. That came after a run of four straight losses.

But UNC has won four straight since, the past two coming against Big Ten teams – Ohio State on Dec. 17 and Michigan last week – to regroup.

RISING

Miami had the week’s biggest jump after a win against Virginia, climbing eight spots to No. 14 for its highest ranking since the 2017-18 season. No. 20 Auburn rose three spots. In all, 10 teams moved up from last week.

SLIDING

Virginia took the week’s biggest tumble, falling seven spots to No. 13. Mississippi State was close behind, falling six spots to No. 21. Duke was the only other team to slide, falling three spots to No. 17.

STATUS QUO

Seven teams held their positions from last week, with No. 12 Baylor and No. 19 Kentucky joining the unchanged top five.

WELCOME

Xavier and New Mexico are tied at No. 22, while No. 24 West Virginia joined them in new additions to the poll this season. For the Lobos, it marks the first time they’ve cracked the AP Top 25 since March 2014.

FAREWELL (FOR NOW)

Illinois (No. 16), Virginia Tech (No. 21), Marquette (No. 24) and Arizona State (No. 25) fell out from last week’s poll.

CONFERENCE WATCH

The Southeastern Conference led all leagues with six ranked teams, followed by the Big 12 with five and the Atlantic Coast Conference with four.

The Big Ten had three ranked teams while the Pac-12 and Big East each had two. The American Athletic, West Coast and Mountain West conferences each had one.

No. 4 Boilermakers hold off Nebraska 65-62 in overtime

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LINCOLN, Neb. – Purdue star Zach Edey was getting double- and triple-teamed whenever he touched the ball in the post, his teammates weren’t shooting particularly well, and Nebraska reserve Keisei Tominaga was hot.

The fourth-ranked Boilermakers still passed this test, beating the Cornhuskers 65-62 in overtime Saturday in their Big Ten road opener.

“Can you can you find a way to win a game when you don’t shoot the ball well? We were able to do that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “But Nebraska deserved to win the game just as much as we did. I thought they were really good.”

Fletcher Loyer scored a season-high 22 points and fellow freshman Braden Smith made four free throws in the last 28 seconds of overtime to give Purdue (10-0, 2-0 Big Ten) two straight wins to open conference play for the first time since 2017-18.

Edey had 11 points and 17 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season, but his quiet afternoon offensively allowed the Cornhuskers (6-5, 0-2) to keep things close throughout.

“There are no moral victories, and there was a lot of dejection in that locker room,” Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. “The way they went out and battled, if we do that every night, we’re going to have a chance.”

Purdue shot 30% after halftime and 39.7% for the game. The Huskers shot just 31.9%.

Tominaga was the exception. He had 12 of his 19 points after halftime and finished with four 3s, two coming as he led the Huskers back from a 14-point deficit in the second half and his biggest tying it 56-all with 9.1 seconds left.

The game went to overtime when Loyer was off the mark with a 3 just before the buzzer. Loyer was just 9 of 21 from the field, including 2 of 10 on 3s.

“It was there all night and a few didn’t fall,” he said, “but they kept giving it to me, my teammates kept encouraging me to keep shooting. When they’re handing it to you like that, you’ve got to keep attacking it.”

Tominaga’s lay-up with 14 seconds left in overtime pulled the Huskers to 63-62, but C.J. Wilcher was called for a foul at midcourt and Smith made two free throws to make it a three-point game.

“We knew coming off the bench he was electric,” Loyer said of Tominaga, “and we kind of let him get going. He made a few very tough shots. When they’re on runs like that, you’ve got to contain a shooter like that.”

Nebraska’s Derrick Walker rebounded Sam Griesel’s missed 3 but lost the ball to Smith, securing Purdue’s win.

Walker and Emmanuel Bandoumel added 14 points apiece for the Huskers, and Walker had 10 rebounds.

Walker was the primary defender on the 7-foot-4 Edey, and two or three teammates would converge whenever the big man received an entry pass.

“Our effort allowed us to stay in that game and our guys kept swinging and fighting and battling,” Hoiberg said. “They’re doing it together. That’s what I’m most proud of. Unfortunately, we didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight.”

BIG PICTURE

Purdue: The Boilermakers had to gut this one out as Edey was held to his lowest point total of the season. Edey also was held to his fewest shots, going 5 for 7, in 43 minutes. He blocked a career-high seven shots.

Nebraska: The Huskers finished a stretch of three games against ranked opponents, nearly beating their highest-ranked opponent since 2011.

RHULE RALLY

New Nebraska football coach Matt Rhule made a halftime appearance to speak to an enthusiastic crowd chanting “Go Big Red!” as he made his way to half-court.

He thanked fans for their support and told them his job is not just another job but a “mission” for him and his staff to return the football program to elite status. He led another round of “Go Big Red!” cheers as he walked off and hugged athletic director Trev Alberts at the tunnel entrance.

UP NEXT

Purdue plays Davidson in the Indy Classic in Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 17.

Nebraska plays Kansas State in Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday, Dec. 17.