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IUPUI Stays Close But Fades Late As Purdue Men Go To 2-0

Stan Jastrzebski

The first five minutes of Sunday's 77-57 win over IUPUI gave every indication both the game plan and the result would be the same for Purdue as it was Friday versus Samford.

But though the final score looks lopsided, the majority of the game saw leads no larger than ten points for the home team.

IUPUI center Josh James picked up his second foul and headed to the bench with 15:40 to go in the first half, leaving Purdue's two seven-foot centers with at least a four-inch height advantage on anyone who tried to guard them.

Purdue also sank five of its first six shots, leapt out to a 15-2 lead and appeared ready to run away from the Jaguars.

But unlike against Samford, Purdue was facing a team that hit its outside shots, showed a deep bench and appeared to have a plan for combating Purdue's size advantage.

On offense, coach Jason Gardner's club made a point of driving to the basket against A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas and stole some free points at the charity stripe. On defense, every entry pass into a Purdue post player was met with an almost immediate double-team.

And then there was the three-point shooting. Both teams shot early and often from outside, with IUPUI making six of its first eight, largely on the back of redshirt freshman and Granger, Ind. native Leo Svete. Svete was part of an IUPUI bench that outscored Purdue's reserves 44-13 for the game.

Even as Purdue was shooting 50-percent from behind the arc, Svete missed just one of his five three-point attempts in the first half and Purdue led by only ten at the break, 48-38.

With Hammons and Haas attracting extra attention inside, Purdue needed a boost -- and got one in the form of 6'7" freshman Vince Edwards. Edwards racked up 19 points in the first half and 26 for the game, thanks to his inside-outside game. Edwards shot 11-of-16 from the field, including three offensive rebound putback scores, all of them in heavy traffic. Kendall Stephens also chipped in 24.

As the game wore on, Purdue refused to go away from its big men and began giving the undersized IUPUI defense a steady diet of low-post possessions. By the 14:32 mark of the second half, the Boilers were already in the bonus after Hammons and Haas were repeatedly jostled by onrushing defenders.

Purdue continued shooting a high percentage from the floor, as it did Friday. The Boilermakers connected on 25 of 50 shots (50-percent), including hitting eight of their 17 three-point tries. The Boilers did struggle at the free throw line, converting only 61-percent of their freebies.

The Boilermakers (2-0) next face Grambling State Thursday before departing for Hawaii and their next game of the Maui Invitational.

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