Aggressive Carsen Edwards produces career high, spurs easy victory
The video board was flashing Star Wars clips all night.
But maybe none was more appropriate than after Carsen Edwards’ second-half three-pointer.
Han Solo popped up, and the screen displayed in big, block letters, “Great shot, kid. That was one in a million.”
Technically, Edwards wasn’t on that big of a slump from three-point range, but it may have felt like to the super sophomore.
After missing his three three-pointers in the first half Sunday, Edwards was on a stretch of having made only 2-of-21 from long range.
So when he made one early in the second half — in a personal seven-point run that helped spur an eventual 86-61 victory over IUPUI on Sunday — Edwards turned toward Purdue’s bench, yelled and flashed a smile while running back on defense.
“It felt good to make one,” Edwards said afterward, "because I hadn't seen one fall in a while."
There were plenty of other things to smile about Sunday.
Edwards scored a career-high 27 points, including a second three-pointer in the half that prompted the video board Solo treatment.
And the high total was prompted by an aggressive, mature approach.
“When you can’t make a jumper, you just go to the basket,” he said. “That’s what I was trying to do. Couldn’t get a jumper to fall, so I thought if I attacked the basket … I was able to get fouled and make some layups and make shots around the rim, in the paint, so I just tried to keep attacking.”
Edwards made nine of his 11 two-point attempts, and it was a late first-half surge and early second-half surge really sparked a blowout.
Late in the first half, he grabbed a rebound and went coast-to-coast for a basket and a foul. . Edwards, in his go-to celebration, flexed, and then he completed the play with a free throw to push Purdue’s lead to 34-27 with 3:06 left.
He scored the first seven points of the second half, banking in a floater in the lane, going running back-like and cradling the ball in his left hand on a drive before laying it in also with the left and then that first three-pointer.
“We have a guy who can score at will,” Ryan Cline, who two late first-half threes were key, too, said of Edwards.
After Edwards’ quick second-half start, the Boilermakers just blew it open from there.
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Purdue opened the half on an 18-2 run and led by as many as 32 points.
The Boilermakers (10-2) have won six games in a row heading into a break for finals. Purdue doesn’t play again until Saturday, when it’ll take on Butler at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.
Vincent Edwards had his fifth double-double of the season, grabbing 12 rebounds to go with 12 points.
But it was the other Edwards who stole the show,
“We’ve really discussed any time you can get out in space and the help is not there, just trying to use your dribble, but for anybody,” Matt Painter said. “When you have games and you start out 0-for-5, 0-for-6 from three, it’s hard for those guys then to pass them up and go to Plan B. They’re very confident in their ability to shoot the basketball. But we’re not a limited team. We have to be able to get the ball to the rim besides throwing the ball inside to Isaac (Haas). We have to drive the basketball.
“When he’s putting pressure on the defense and he’s driving the basketball and we’re getting it inside, to whether that’s Vince or Isaac, I think you have pretty good balance. You have to find a way to get to the ball at the rim. You’re going to get them in foul trouble, you’re going to get to the free throw line, you’re going to shoot a higher percentage. It just makes a whole lot of sense.”
Purdue missed its first eight three-pointers in the game. But when IUPUI switched to a zone defense for a three-possession stretch late in the first half, Cline was open in the corner and drilled the three.
The Boilermakers would add a pair of three-pointers before the half was over, including another by Cline and then one assisted by him. Holding for the final shot, Cline drove and then kicked to P.J. Thompson near the top of the key. Thompson drilled the three — and held the follow through for good measure — as Purdue took a 40-31 lead into halftime.
Purdue made 56 percent of its first-half shots, remarkable considering it was only 3-of-13 shooting three-pointers. It missed only two two-point field goals: Haas made four of his five shots, and Carsen Edwards made all five of his two-pointers, mostly on drives.
After a game in which he’d made only two of his six shots from the field and said he’d get in the gym, Haas finished 6-of-7 shooting and made both of his free throws to score 14 points.
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