Edwards Leads No. 6-Ranked and Shorthanded Purdue Past Penn State 76-73
• Purdue improved to 24-5 overall and 13-3 in the Big Ten with a 76-73 win over Penn State, snapping the Nittany Lions’ four-game win streak … Purdue improved to 20-2 at Mackey Arena against Penn State, winning 11 games in a row at home against the Lions … Matt Painter is now 20-5 against Penn State … Purdue’s senior class is now 6-0 against Penn State.
• Purdue’s Vincent Edwards (14.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.0 APG) missed the contest with a sprained ankle … it marked the first change in a starting lineup this year.
• Purdue clinched a double-bye for the Big Ten Tournament and a top-four finish in the Big Ten … Purdue is the only team to have a double-bye in each of the four years that the double-bye has been in existence.
• Purdue’s 76 points were the most since scoring 78 points against Rutgers on Feb. 3, 2018, four games ago.
• Purdue’s last five games have been decided by two, one, three, four and three points.
• Purdue has now won 61 home games since the start of the 2014-15 season, tied for the most home wins by a senior class in school history (61 by Classes of 2011 and 2010).
• Carsen Edwards tallied his 10th 20-point game of the season with 27 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists against no turnovers … Edwards now has 865 career points and went over 500 points for the season (now with 505) … over the last four games, Edwards is averaging 22.8 points per game and has scored in double figures in 12 straight games.
• Dakota Mathias tallied 18 points with three rebounds, three assists and two steals … his 18 points were his most since scoring 20 points against Maryland in the Big Ten opener on Dec. 1 … Mathias needs 16 3-pointers to tie E’Twaun Moore for the most career triples in school history (243).
• Isaac Haas tallied 12 points, six rebounds, a career-high tying three assists and one block … he became the 25th player in school history with 600 career rebounds.
• Grady Eifert earned his first career start in the win over Penn State … he entered the game with one point in Big Ten play, but finished with six points, four rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot … his six points were his most since having nine against Fairfield on Nov. 18.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) After a rough 10-day stretch, sixth-ranked Purdue rediscovered the joy of a well-played game.
Edwards scored 27 points, Mathias added 18 points and Isaac Haas had 12 points and six rebounds as the Boilermakers (24-5, 13-3 Big Ten) snapped a season-worst three-game skid, which included losses to ranked Ohio State and Michigan State before falling to Wisconsin. The three defeats were by a combined eight points.
”Basketball was pretty fun today,” Mathias said. ”That was something we were searching for the last couple games, couple weeks. I think you could tell at Wisconsin that we weren’t enjoying ourselves, weren’t playing with energy, and that’s not who Purdue is. Today, I think, for 40 minutes, everybody stepped up. That’s how we have to play all the time.”
Ryan Cline’s 3-pointer with 5:31 remaining gave Purdue a 61-58 lead, and the Boilermakers never trailed the rest of the way.
It wasn’t easy for a Purdue team in search of the same offensive flair that made the Boilermakers unbeatable during a program-record 19-game winning streak that stretched from November until a 64-63 loss to Ohio State on Feb. 7. It became more difficult without starting forward Vincent Edwards, one of the team’s most consistent players.
Vincent Edwards sat on the bench wearing a walking boot after spraining his left ankle in practice on Saturday. The team disclosed the injury in a statement before tipoff.
The Boilermakers trailed by as much as nine points in the first half, during which they shot 42.3 percent from the field and went 2 for 9 from 3-point range.
Tony Carr had 19 points, five rebounds and five assists, Shep Garner had 17 points and Lamar Stevens had 13 points and six rebounds for the Nittany Lions (19-10, 9-7). The loss ended a stretch of six wins in seven games.
”We played too fast,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. ”We have to slow down. Give Purdue credit, they played hard. I knew they would. I knew they would be inspired without Vince.”
Carr scored at the end of an 11-1 run to give Penn State a 29-20 lead with 5:03 left in the first half. The Nittany Lions led 36-32 at halftime before Carsen Edwards and Mathias led the Boilermakers on a 14-4 run in the second half.
Carsen Edwards converted a three-point play and later made a 3-pointer during the burst. Mathias drove to the basket twice, including one layup to make it 53-42 to with 12:30 to go.
”I think it was just a great win in terms of from an energy standpoint,” Purdue coach Matt Paintersaid. ”I thought we were very sluggish in our last game. I thought we showed much more poise and did a much better job executing. We were very fortunate to win this game.”
With Vincent Edwards out, Purdue used a different starting lineup for the first time after going with the same five through the first 28 games. Junior Grady Eifert started for Edwards, who is questionable for the remaining regular-season games.
The Nittany Lions committed 15 turnovers and forced Purdue to just nine. Penn State, the Big Ten’s leader in steals, had five.
Penn State: Despite another poor offensive night by Purdue, the Nittany Lions proved their recent hot streak, which included a 79-56 blowout of No. 8 Ohio State, may not have been a fluke. Even after the Boilermakers found a groove in the second half, Penn State still never trailed by more than 11 points.
Purdue: After dropping three straight conference games and falling in the Big Ten standings, the Boilermakers needed to get back on track quickly with just two regular season games remaining.