WEST LAFAYETTE – Trevion Williams scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help Purdue overcome an early deficit and defeat Indiana State 80-68 tonight at Mackey Arena.
- Williams got the message: The preseason All-Big Ten center was dropped from the starting lineup for the first time this season in favor of freshman Zach Edey after he'd struggled offensively to start the season. Edey got in early foul trouble, however, and Williams came into the game soon after tipoff. Once he got in the game, he played as though he didn't want to sit down again. The big junior was the most physical player on the floor, working hard to get post position and fighting for every rebound. He was helped by facing an undersized Indiana State team that had no one who could dream of stopping him one-on-one, but he made the most of his opportunities and dominated in the post, helping Purdue re-gain the lead after a slow start. During one stretch in the first half, he scored in the post, then got back on defense and forced a bad miss with good perimeter defense, then raced down to the other end of the court and grabbed an outlet pass for a dunk. Coach Matt Painter wanted Williams to do more than just rebound and he did today.
- Turnovers are still a problem: Purdue was able to win this game relatively handily against a less-than-impressive Sycamores squad, but it played far from perfect basketball. The Boilermakers turned the ball over 18 times, including 11 in the first half, leading Painter to place his hands on his head or slap the scorer's table with his palm more than once. The turnovers were an all-game issue. Coming out of halftime, the Boilers gave the ball away on two of their first three possessions. Credit to Indiana State for showing up and giving an inspired defensive effort, but many of Purdue's turnovers were unforced or simply the result of poor decisions. The Sycamores scored 27 points off the Boiler turnovers, helping the visitors stay in the game in the second half.
- Purdue is still searching: The Boilermakers shook up their starting lineup, putting Edey and Mason Gillis in to open the game and bringing Williams and Aaron Wheeler off the bench. It didn't work as the Boilermakers fell behind 10-1 in the first five minutes and had to battle back to a 9-point lead at halftime. Williams and Wheeler (10 points, a career-high 13 rebounds, four blocks) had big games and might have gotten a little bit of extra motivation from starting on the bench, but Purdue is still looking for a lineup that works well together on a regular basis. Painter will continue experimenting as we get later in the season, but Big Ten games start next week and the Boilermakers can't afford another disastrous opening stretch. This team needs to find a way to be more consistent. Again, cutting down on turnovers would help significantly.
Player of the Game: Trevion Williams
Williams had the breakout performance Purdue has been waiting for, putting up his second double-double of the season and scoring 20-plus points for the first time since he had 36 more than 11 months ago against Minnesota. He shot 13 of 18 from the field and added two assists, a block and a steal to his line.
Facts and Figures
This was Purdue's final regular-season game against a mid-major opponent for 2020-21. ... The Boilermakers have won their last seven non-conference home games in a row by an average of 28.9 points. ... Purdue is 15-2 against teams from Indiana since the start of the 2016-17 season and 15-0 outside of the annual Crossroads Classic. ... Edey (14 points per game) and Brandon Newman (11 points per game) came into the game second and fifth among Big Ten freshmen in scoring. Edey had 10 points on 4 for 6 from the field and Newman had zero points on zero attempts. ... Edey and redshirt freshman Mason Gillis made their first career starts. Purdue had three freshmen in the lineup for the first time since Dec. 13, 2014 at Vanderbilt. ... Purdue shot 56%, while Indiana State shot 44%. ... The Boilermakers outrebounded the Sycamores 40-24. ... Wheeler had his second career double-double and first since Nov. 16, 2019. ... This was Indiana State's first game this season against a Division I opponent. It had played one previous game against Division II Truman State. ... Cooper Neese led Indiana State with 22 points, including 15 in the second half.
Purdue is back in action Wednesday for its Big Ten season-opener against No. 22 Ohio State (4-0) at Mackey Arena. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. The Buckeyes boast a victory over Notre Dame and will be coming off a Sunday matchup against Cleveland State when they take on the Boilers.