Record shooting night carries Purdue to romp over Fairfield
Dakota Mathias, uncharacteristically, missed a free throw Saturday night.
"The ball was a little wet, I guess," he joked afterward.
But everything else the Boilermaker senior put up in No. 19 Purdue's 106-64 romp over Fairfield — all eight field-goal attempts, five of them threes — went down.
He wasn't alone.
After Isaac Haas dominated Tuesday night at Marquette and Purdue didn't make any threes until the game's 12-minute mark or so, the term "pick your poison" came up often.
Saturday night, the Boilermakers' toxin of choice was again those threes, to the tune of a school single-game record 19 of them, the record broken by Grady Eifert's triple in the final minutes.
Long before, Purdue took a scalpel to the visiting Stags' halfcourt zone, blowing the game open early with its long-range shooting.
"We got into a rhythm, each individual guy," Coach Matt Painter said. "I don't know if we had any bad shots from three. Our guys shared the basketball, found each other and just got in a rhythm. It can go either way, but we have good shooters, and good decision-making and rhythm shots, it gets contagious and I think that happened tonight."
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Vincent Edwards said Purdue picked up a vulnerability in Fairfield's defense prior to the game.
It took that vulnerability and ripped it open.
Purdue had buried five threes — three from the right corner, one of the others slightly offset from that same corner — prior to the first media timeout. The Boilermakers led by a dozen before that first stoppage.
Purdue led by 30 at halftime, after making 13 triples, five of them by Mathias, in the opening 20 minutes.
"A lot of us pass up good shots for great shots and that's what a good team does," Mathias said. "In that zone, there's a lot of holes, and we move the ball and we passed up good shots for great shots. We did that tonight and it shows in our shooting numbers."
In Purdue's final test prior to this week's loaded Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas, the Boilermakers looked the part not only of an elite offensive team, but a complete and balanced one.
It limited Fairfield to 40-percent shooting, though that number hardly matters given the fact Purdue was up 20 to stay 10 minutes into the game, setting up dozens of garbage-time minutes. Fairfield came up empty on its first five possessions, allowing Purdue to make its quick run, though. And when all was said and done, the Boilermakers did manage 11 steals and five blocked shots, all of the latter by redshirt freshman big man Matt Haarms, a revelation early in the season.
Rebounding was another big win, 42-34, for Purdue, garbage time or not, the third consecutive solid showing since it seemed to take personally a lackluster showing vs. SIU-Edwardsville in Game 1.
But this was the offense's night.
Purdue shot 51.4 percent from the floor. That total brought its season percentage down to 56.8 percent.
It made 19-of-31 threes. It's now shooting 49 percent from long range for the season.
And the balance.
Mathias scored 23 on his flawless 8-for-8 shooting. He finished with four assists and no turnovers, a pretty standard line for him.
Vincent Edwards' 21 came on 8-of-12 shooting, 4-of-5 from three, all those attempts early. And five of his 11 rebounds came at the offensive end.
Carsen Edwards scored 18 on 6-of-11 shooting, with six assists and no turnovers.
Point guard P.J. Thompson made four threes on a half-dozen attempts, scoring 12.
It all started with Vincent Edwards exploiting that opening in Fairfield's zone early.
"It worked out for everybody else," Edwards said. "We got hot and started making shots."
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