WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue’s Trey Kaufman-Renn took advantage of his opportunity with leading scorer Zach Edey out with illness.
Kaufman-Renn came off the bench to score a season-best 24 points to lead No. 1 Purdue past New Orleans 74-53 on Wednesday night.
’It feels good just to play basketball again,” said Kaufman-Renn, who sat out last season as a freshman. “Obviously, if you are on a really good team and winning games that helps, too. It’s been fun.”
The 6-foot-9 redshirt freshman whose previous high was 13 points hit 8 of 10 shots and 8 of 10 free throws for the Boilermakers (12-0).
“He has great footwork,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said of Kaufman-Renn. “He has the spin cycle there and does that reverse. He’s pretty nimble. For him, it’s comfort level. He just has to get into a game and get comfortable quick and that’s a hard thing to do coming off the bench.”
The only other Boilermaker in double figures was Mason Gillis with 11 points. Edey is averaging team highs of 22.6 points and 13.9 rebounds.
“We preach next man up all the time, so if anyone gets injured, sick or COVID we dealt with two years ago, we’ve learned it’s next man up and you’ve got to do your job,” Gillis said. “It’s understanding what you need to do to help the team get a win.”
Painter said it was good to see what the team could do without Edey.
Jordan Johnson scored 17 points to lead the Privateers (3-8), who have lost five of their last six games. Tyson Jackson had 14 for New Orleans.
The Boilermakers started slowly but regrouped to shoot 59% en route to a 41-21 lead. New Orleans was held to 35% shooting in the first half.
Purdue shot nearly 56% overall while holding New Orleans to 46.3%.
New Orleans committed 16 turnovers, eight more than Purdue.
Trailing 19-17, Purdue took command with an 18-0 run to take a 35-19 advantage. The Privateers went nearly nine minutes without scoring. Purdue took the lead for good at 20-19 on Caleb Furst’s rebound basket with 7:40 left in the first half.
Purdue closed the first half with a steal and a dunk by Brandon Newman just before the buzzer.
One negative for the Boilermakers, Painter said, was a 5 for 19 showing from the 3-point line.
“We’re going to have to be able to make some shots there,” Painter said.
New Orleans: This was the first time the Privateers played a No. 1 team in the regular season. They held their own against the Boilermakers for the first 10 minutes before a turnover-plagued scoring drought sealed their fate.
Purdue: The Boilermakers, who were playing their first home game in history as the No. 1 team, showed they had other players who could score with Edey out. Purdue has now won 23 consecutive non-conference regular season games, the longest streak in the nation. The Boilermakers close out nonconference play against Florida A&M on Dec. 29.
New Orleans: Hosts Lamar on Jan. 5.
Purdue: Hosts Florida A&M on Dec. 29.