Boilers School Ivy League Champs In Opening Round
Purdue had something to prove as it cruised past the Yale Bulldogs, 78-56, in Milwaukee Friday afternoon.
With all five starters returning from the Boilers’ team last year, North Texas upset them in the opening round as part of the NCAA tournament bubble in the state of Indiana. But it was a different story this year as Purdue pulled away from the Bulldogs in the first half.
Purdue (28-7) took the lead for good, 17-16, on a Caleb Furst dunk seven minutes into the first half. The freshman from Fort Wayne finished with ten points off the bench. The Boilers stretched their lead to as many as 28 in the second half.
“I thought our guys did a much better job of challenging them at the rim and challenging them in the paint,” said coach Matt Painter after the game, “I just thought our guys did a good job of contesting, staying with it and then not allowing them to get second chance opportunities.”
The Boilers shot 54 percent from the field in the opening period. Sophomore sensation Jaden Ivey led the Boilers with 22 points, 18 of which came in the first half.
“I’m willing to take any shot if it’s the right shot for me and for my team,” said Ivey.
Seven-foot-four center Zach Edey presented a massive challenge around the basket for the Ivy League tournament champions. Edey finished with 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
With their inside presence, the Boilermakers lived at the foul line against the Bulldogs. Purdue made 27 of 33 free throws, tied for the most made free throws in a game this season.
In its second trip to Milwaukee in the last five years of the tournament Purdue hopes to repeat its feat from 2017 when the Boilers advanced to the Sweet 16 in Kansas City. The Boilers’ next contest is Sunday against Texas, after the Longhorns’ 81-73 win over Virginia Tech. This year Purdue would advance to the East regional in Pittsburgh.
The 2022 NCAA tournament is the seventh in a row for the Boilermakers, the second longest streak of consecutive tournaments in school history. Purdue has reached the Sweet 16 in four of the last five tournaments.