After a week off for the final Purdue struggled through much of his first game of the season as No. 1 in the country. Purdue was only 3 of 25 from three and 19 of 58 from the floor. The Boilermakers made only two field goals in the final 12:23, but shot 28 of 37 from the line in the second half to clinch a hard-fought 69-61 victory over Davidson in the Indy Classic at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Purdue started dominantly on both sides, as the Boilers raced to a 9-0 lead at the first media timeout. Fletcher Loyer connected on a 15-footer and a three on Purdue’s first two possessions, as Davidson missed his first eight field goal attempts.
Then it was time for some Boilermaker milestones. Zach Edey scored his 1000th career point on a putback with 14:12 left in the first half and earlier grabbed the 100th blocked shot of his career with 15:26 left in the first half. He is the 55th player in Purdue history to reach 1,000 career points.
The Wildcats were able to ramp up their defensive pressure and disrupt Purdue’s offensive flow. Like Nebraska a week earlier, Davidson challenged Zach Edey with a double team on every post touch and Purdue struggled to shoot from the outside. Davidson got back into the game and took the first lead on a dunk Sam Mennenga with 7:44 left in the first half it became 15-14.
From there, the Wildcats struggled mightily to keep Edey off the offensive glass as he erased several Purdue misses with offensive rebounds and putbacks. However, Purdue struggled on the other side and Foster Loyer put Davidson for 25-24 with a three with 2:25 left in the half. An Edey dunk with 1:14 left put Purdue back in front.
Purdue had a 28–27 halftime lead, and the 28 points were Purdue’s lowest total of the season for the first half. Edey had 17 of Purdue’s 28 points on 8 of 10 shots from the floor, but the rest of Purdue had 3 of 22. After Fletcher Loyer made the first two shots of the game for Purdue, the Boilers only managed three Brad Smith with 6:53 left in the half outside Edey.
The start of the second half was the Caleb Furst performing for Purdue. The sophomore forward had a scoreless first half, but was incredibly active inside to start the second half. He scored 10 of Purdue’s first 11 points in the second half and collected multiple offensive rebounds to keep the possession alive. This allowed Purdue to extend the lead to 39-31 just after the first media timeout.
Boilermaker’s attack struggled outside Edey and into Furst for most of the afternoon. Midway through the second half, Purdue was 2 of 18 from three before Ethan Morton connected from long range with 12:23 left. That allowed Davidson to stay close as the Wildcats scrambled back to 42-41 with 10:54 left. Foster Loyer and Mennenga provided much of the scoring punch, but Davidson also struggled to shoot the ball in.
That’s where Purdue’s dominance on the glass really showed. The Boilermakers let three players finish with double-digit rebounds in Edey, Furst and Smith, and overall Purdue beat Davidson 48-31. That dominance on the glass allowed Purdue to get up front 49-43 with 7:54 left thanks to Edey scoring six in a row.
However, Davidson refused to leave. Despite playing with four fouls, Mennenga skipped a big three-pointer 4:14 to make it 54-51 Purdue. This was during a stretch where Purdue made just one field goal in over eight minutes, scoring 12 of 14 points from the line.
Edey came out of the final media timeout with only a three point lead and made two more points from the line to make it 56-51. The defense then forced a turnover and Fletcher Loyer was fouled on a loose ball, leading to two more free throws. However, Davidson refused to leave Conner Kochera converted an and-1 three-point play to cut the lead to four.
Braden Smith then turned the ball over on a poor pass, but Davidson came up empty on his next possession with a missed three bouncing across the board. Smith then hit a short jumper on an offensive rebound from Furst before Edey got a steal. Fletcher Loyer was able to get on the line at 1:51 and hit a few to make it 62-54 and give Purdue some breathing room.
Davidson answered with a three from Desmond Watson to make it 62-57 with 1:40 left. A nice feed to Furst van Edey led to a layup at the other end. Fletcher Loyer then was fouled on a rebound with one minute left and made two more free throws to make it 66–57.
Three players finished with a double-double for Purdue. Smith had 10 points and 12 rebounds to go with four assists. Furst finished with 12 points, all in the second half, and 13 rebounds. Edey was his usually dominant self with 29 points, 15 rebounds and 2 assists. Fletcher Loyer finished with 14 and was 9 for 10 off the line. Purdue was 24 of 30 on free throws for the second half.
Purdue hosts New Orleans on Wednesday.