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Breakdown: Purdue's win over Nebraska

This game started at 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes earlier than the norm.

By the time the more traditional 7 p.m. rolled around and the game started, No. 7 Purdue's 92-65 win over visiting Nebraska was pretty much already over, the Boilermakers leading 32-17 at that precise moment following a dominant start to the game.

Our breakdown ...

PDF: Purdue-Nebraska statistics

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WHAT HAPPENED

Considering where Purdue was a few games ago, after a disappointing loss to Wisconsin raised some real existential questions about one of the best teams in the country, the past two games have to be viewed as a considerable step forward, most recently the No. 7 Boilermakers' obliteration of Nebraska.

Yes, Nebraska's now 0-7 in the Big Ten, and yes, the Cornhuskers continue to merely spin their wheels at the bottom of one of the most competitive conferences in America, with no end in sight, if we're being honest.

But regardless, Purdue started so well, and won so convincingly, that this outcome said far more about the Boilermakers than the Cornhuskers.

Purdue led 23-4 a little more than seven minutes in.

"It's something we've really focused on, that we've had slow starts," said big man Zach Edey, after scoring 22 points, grabbing nine rebounds and drawing seven fouls. "... We wanted to really focus on coming out strong today."

The Boilermakers did so with suffocating physicality and some of the most menacing defense they've played all season. Nebraska's 17 turnovers were more about the home team's disruptiveness and activity level than the visitors' carelessness.

Jaden Ivey tore Nebraska up off the dribble, finishing with 17 points, but also handing out five assists off the bounce at the offensive end while playing another excellent defensive game, slowing star Nebraska freshman Bryce McGowens (nine points).

"I'm not gonna lie: I came fired up," Ivey said. "Looking back at the games we lost, the disrespect from everyone, the outsiders talking this about our team, that we don't do this or don't do that, that we don't show up in big games.

"I just came fired up today. I was just tired of it."

It was evident team-wide from the outset.

All told, the final statistics might not reflect how impactful Purdue was defensively, but the reality was that the outcome was essentially decided during those first seven minutes, during which the Cornhuskers had as many turnovers as they did points.

"We're making some strides (defensively)," Coach Matt Painter, "but in no stretch of the imagination have we arrived."

HOW IT HAPPENED

So here's how that 23-4 run played out ...

After Bryce McGowens scored off a ball screen after Sasha Stefanovic opened the scoring with his only three of the game, Nebraska was held scoreless nearly four minutes, while Purdue ripped off 14 straight, seven of the first nine of those at the foul line. Purdue hit the bonus less than four-and-a-half minutes into the game, thanks largely to Edey.

Purdue's lead peaked at 19 in the first half, before reaching 30 after halftime.

Ivey dished out assists on back-to-back threes from Eric Hunter and Caleb Furst, then hit a jumper in the lane to put the Boilermakers ahead 75-45 with a little more than nine minutes left.

GAME GLANCE
Key Sequence Player of the Game Stat of the Game

Two-and-a-half minutes in, Zach Edey was fouled, but missed the second free throw. Sasha Stefanovic followed the miss and drew foul No. 5 on Nebraska at 17:22 of the first half. Ivey then made two free throws next time down. Not only did Purdue open up a lead there, but it also saddled the visitors with significant foul issues.

It's a toss-up between center Zach Edey and guard Jaden Ivey. Both were superb in more ways than just offense. Ivey was really good as a facilitator and defender, and Edey was the game's foremost presence on the glass. Edey gets the nod here, but both of them were tremendous for the Boilermakers.

The Boilermakers scored 28 points off 17 Nebraska turnovers and 21 points from 14 offensive rebounds and outscored the Cornhuskers 19-5 at the foul line. Garbage points all over the place for a team that didn't need a lot of help scoring anyway.

WHAT IT MEANS

Nebraska's a bad team, but they are not a bad offensive team, and Purdue did an excellent job defensively. The Boilermakers have been solid at that end the past two games, and solid is a good start, all things considered.

Purdue does seem to be trending well, but Monday's meeting with Illinois will be the best litmus test since Wisconsin.

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