Zach Edey had another career scoring day against Michigan State on Sunday.
The junior center's 38 points highlighted Purdue's 77-61 blowout win at home.
“When one player gets 70 points in two games, you can’t blame your players for that, you gotta blame your coach,” said Tom Izzo, taking responsibility.
The Boilermakers (21-1, 10-1 Big Ten) defeated the Spartans (14-8, 6-5 Big Ten) for the second time in 13 days, playing at home Sunday as the No. 1 team for the first time while students are on campus.
Every seat was covered in the same free t-shirt before the contest as part of a themed “white-out” game to accompany the Boilers’ debut of their throwback jerseys. The crowd enjoyed Purdue’s 5-of-9 3-point shooting in the first half, which started with a drained wide-open look from Ethan Morton 19 seconds into the game.
The only time the constant buzz of Mackey paused was for a split second every time the ball left a Purdue shooter’s hands for a 3-point attempt. The makes of Morton, Brandon Newman, Mason Gillis and David Jenkins Jr. electrified the arena, especially as time expired in the first half, and Jenkins’ second attempt splashed in − something Izzo thought perhaps shouldn’t have counted.
“I guess it was a good call. I don’t think officials make bad calls,” Izzo said. "I think we had cut (the score) to 15 or 14 (at that time), instead they get a 3, and I get a technical (foul).”
Edey and Jenkins led in scoring at halftime and combined for more points than the Spartans had as a team. The pair ended up as the leading scorers in the game for Purdue, which as a team didn’t have another player in double figures outside of Edey’s career-high 38 and Jenkins’ 11.
“Some people would be jealous or upset with (the point distribution),” Izzo said. “Fletcher Loyer can get you 25 — it doesn’t seem to bother him to take like three or four shots most of the game, a couple at the end. Smith has gotten some big games, doesn’t bother him.”
Edey said he’s managed to find success against Michigan State’s one-on-one defense, which opted not to double-team Purdue’s 7-4 center. As for Jenkins, Edey credits the fifth-year’s experience at the NCAA level with his recent performances.
“He’s old, he’s been doing this since I’ve been in high school,” Edey said of Jenkins. “(His performance) is nothing new for us, I kinda expected this.”
Coming in as a transfer this season, Jenkins said he’s starting to find his role with the team, and it’s led to him getting shots off in the past few games.
“Credit to all the guys for staying confident in me and finding me on shots,” Jenkins said. “Zach obviously attracts a lot of attention down low, and he’s always really selfless looking for us (shooters) on the perimeter.”
Purdue built up a double-digit lead halfway through the first but saw it cut down to 4 after back-to-back Michigan State 3’s brought the game within a couple possessions. The Spartans’ A.J. Hoggard, who led his team in scoring with 20, brought the lead within 5 one last time before the team went cold.
An 8-0 Boiler scoring run ensued, fueled strictly by Edey in the paint. The junior center provided a 13-point lead before a timeout was called to stop the bleeding. Michigan State’s Malik Hall, who didn’t play in the teams’ first encounter, eventually stopped the team’s scoring drought with his first made field goal.
The Spartans managed to cut a 20-point Purdue lead in half with 12 minutes still to play, but never got over the 10-point hump. The point separation grew to 20 once more in the final few minutes, but the Spartans never whittled it down to a surmountable margin.