If you can’t beat ’em, join their bandwagon.
Samford coach Bucky McMillan put his own spin on an adage after host Purdue routed the Bulldogs in Monday’s season opener.
The Boilermakers again will aim to live up to their No. 3 ranking when they host Morehead State on Friday night in West Lafayette, Ind.
Purdue (1-0), from the Big Ten, surely did the trick against Samford (Southern Conference) after shooting 54.8 percent from the floor and 55.2 percent from 3-point range in a 98-45 rout.
“That’s a great team, and I’m going to be pulling for them,” McMillan said. “It’s something we don’t see in our league. There’s a lot of 3-point shooting in our league and not a lot of size. That was a clinic on shooting and passing the basketball.”
Guards Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith paced Purdue with four 3-pointers apiece, while Camden Heide added three as part of his 13-point performance. Loyer and Smith finished with 12 points apiece.
“Everybody is here for a reason, because they can shoot the ball and make plays,” Smith said. “So I think down the line, it’s an expectation for us.”
Center Zach Edey was the lone Boilermakers starter without a 3-point attempt against Samford, but the 7-foot-4 senior shined in other ways.
Edey contributed 16 points and 11 rebounds for the 40th double-double of his career. He also had four blocks and two assists.
His presence was palpable throughout Purdue’s 21-2 run to open the game.
“I think we came out in the first half really well. … I think we played with great energy and we played with an edge,” Edey said.
Morehead State (1-1) already has a lopsided road loss to a ranked Power Five foe.
The Eagles lost 105-73 at No. 24 Alabama on Monday, but the game was a bright spot for Riley Minix, a 6-foot-7 transfer from NAIA Southeastern University. Minix scored 19 points for Morehead State, which is feeling things out after the returning and preseason Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, Mark Freeman, had wrist surgery in October.
“We knew that we were going to be in for a fight … and they did an unbelievable job with so many new players,” Morehead State coach Preston Stradlin said. “And still able to stick to their identity of how they play.”
The Eagles regrouped on Wednesday, blitzing Shawnee State 96-40 in their home opener behind an 18-point, 15-rebound double-double from Minix.
Eddie Ricks III contributed 18 points, eight rebounds and two blocks for Morehead State, while Kalil Thomas (13 points) and Jerone Morton (10) also scored in double figures.
A victory Friday would set a school record for the Boilermakers, who matched a program best against Samford by winning their 25th straight non-conference regular-season game.
Purdue is set to conclude a season-opening three-game homestand when Xavier visits on Monday. The Boilermakers will travel to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational the following week.
–Field Level Media