INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Purdue center Zach Edey kept taking his shots when Davidson sent multiple defenders at him Saturday night.
Eventually, Caleb Furst found a few openings, too.
Together, they gave the top-ranked Boilermakers an unbeatable combination. Edey finished with 29 points and 16 rebounds and Furst scored all 12 of his points in the second half to help No. 1 Purdue fend off Davidson 69-61 in the Indy Classic.
“ You know the thing about Zach, don’t take him for granted. I know I don’t,” coach Matt Painter said. “He’s great, he’s a fabulous and he’s unselfish, which makes for a great teammate.”
Apparently, a great team, too, now that the Boilermakers (11-0) are positioned to keep the top spot for an unprecedented second straight week. Purdue earned its first No. 1 ranking last December, then lost its next game on a buzzer-beater at Rutgers and didn’t regain the No. 1 ranking until this week.
Furst also had 13 rebounds.
Sam Mennenga had 14 points and Foster Loyer added 11 points and 10 assists for Davidson (7-4). The Wildcats fell to 0-11 against No. 1 foes and 18-116 against Top 25 teams.
This one felt like more like an NCAA Tournament game with a Power Five favorite facing a pesky mid-major team that used a combination of timely 3-pointers and nifty drives to stay close before watching it slip away late.
Edey, Purdue’s powerful 7-foot-4 center, was simply too much for Davidson.
“Maybe nobody in the country is playing as well as Zach Edey right now,” first-year Wildcats coach Matt McKillop said. “The funny thing is at halftime, I felt we played pretty well against him — and he had 17 (points) and 11 (rebounds).”
Furst’s quick second-half start helped the Boilermakers start breaking away.
But when Davidson closed to 45-43 with 9:05 to go, Edey answered with all of Purdue’s points in a 7-2 run. And when Mennenga’s 3 with 4:13 left cut the deficit to 54-51, Purdue went back to Edey, who drew a foul and made two free throws.
Then, when Davidson got to 58-54 with 3:30 to play, Purdue finally took advantage of Edey’s presence by finding open shots and open lanes. The resulting 8-0 run allowed Purdue to pull away and the Boilermakers sealed it at the free throw line.
“I thought the difference in the game was our ability to get a lot of free throws and to make a lot of free throws,” Painter said.
Davidson: First-year coach Matt McKillop got just about everything possible out of his team. They just had no answer for Edey, a common refrain from Boilermakers opponents and one that’s unlikely to dissipate any time soon. Davidson should fare against more manageable foes.
Purdue: It took the Boilermakers 34 days to go from unranked to No. 1. They weren’t quite as impressive Saturday but proved something else — they can win with old-fashioned grit and guts. It’s yet another characteristic that will continue to make this team complete.
The Loyer brothers finally made it onto the same court for the first time. Foster Loyer, a fifth-year senior, entered the game as Davidson’s top scorer while freshman Fletcher Loyer started at guard for the Boilermakers. It was quite the reunion for a family that needed nearly 100 tickets to fill all the requests for families and friends. The younger Loyer scored Purdue’s first and last five points, finishing with 14 points to earn the family’s bragging rights.
Davidson: The Wildcats lost the rebounding battle 48-31 and were outscored 19-8 on second chance points. … They were 7 of 25 on 3s.
Purdue: Guard Braden Smith had 10 points and 12 rebounds. … Purdue was 28 of 37 from the free-throw line. Davidson was 6 of 11. … The Boilermakers were 3 of 25 on 3s.
Davidson: Closes out nonconference play by hosting Northeastern on Wednesday night.
Purdue: Hosts New Orleans on Wednesday night.