WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue's focus now is on defending its Big Ten championship after the 14th-ranked Boilermakers beat Lipscomb 98-66 on Saturday night to close out nonconference play.
“We've already kind of started Big Ten play, so it's a little bit different,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We've put ourself in a good position, and our next game's a home game.”
The Boilermakers already have wins over Maryland and Northwestern from conference games in early December after a scheduling change to help end the Big Ten's regular season in late February for an early start to the conference tournament.
But Lipscomb didn't make the end of the nonconference season easy for Purdue.
Vincent Edwards had 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Isaac Haas added 19 points and seven rebounds, and Carsen Edwards scored 18 points for the Boilermakers (13-2). They haven't lost a game played in December in the last two years.
Purdue had a 12-2 run early in the second half to finally begin to pull away, and Dakota Mathias, who finished with 15 points, scored to give the Boilermakers a 59-43 lead with 16:04 remaining. Purdue later used a 13-0 run to put it away.
“(Lipscomb) got in a little bit of a hurry in the second half, and we were able to disrupt them,” Painter said. “We started the second half by getting Isaac involved, and going to him. And Vince Edwards really opened some things up. After you get a little bit of a lead, they're not quite as patient and it just kind of snowballed from there.”
Vincent Edwards scored back-to-back 3-pointers and then made three free throws to put the Boilermakers ahead 75-52 with 9:33 left to play. Before that, the Bison (9-5) wouldn't let Purdue go on a run big enough to build a big lead.
Garrison Mathews had 25 points and five rebounds, and Matt Rose had 13 points and five rebounds for the Bison.
The Boilermakers never trailed and led by as much as eight in the first half, but the Bison found a way to tie it five times. And despite a drought of nearly five minutes without a field goal late in the first period, Purdue still had a 43-38 halftime lead.
“We've found ways to win (this season), even when it wasn't the prettiest,” Vincent Edwards said. “I think that's important.
Key from 3
The Bison made 10 3-pointers, and it shouldn't have come as a surprise considering Lipscomb ended the 2016-17 season ranked sixth in the nation in 3-point field goals made. The Bison started the game making 6 of 6, and didn't miss for the first time until the 7:09 mark in the first half when Rose missed a 3 with the game tied at 32 and a chance to take the lead. Purdue also found a groove from 3-pointe range, finishing with 12.
Lipscomb entered the game 19th in the nation forcing 17.3 turnovers a game. Both teams committed 11 turnovers each, but Purdue had five in the first half and the Bison only had one. The Bison opened the second half with three in the first three minutes as the Boilermakers started to pull away.