It got off to a bumpy start, but No. 2 Purdue asserted itself in the second half to pull away from No. 10 Gonzaga in the opener of an absolutely-loaded Maui Invitational.
The Boilers got another ho-hum performance (wink) from Zach Edey (25 points and 14 rebounds), and Braden Smith continued to orchestrate the offense in an impressive 73-63 win Monday in Honolulu.
Player ratings on a scale of 1 to 10.
∎ Zach Edey — Purdue went right to their All-American with back-to-back buckets to start the game. But he missed a lot of shots close to the basket with the Zags sending multiple defenders at him. Gonzaga’s Graham Ike was also doing a good job pulling Edey away from the basket, hitting two first-half 3s. While Edey was only 4-of-11 from the first in the first half, he made up for it going 7-of-8 from the free-throw line for 15 first-half points. He was more dominant in the second half, going 4-of-5 from the field and grabbing 10 more rebounds. Per usual, he was a magnet for fouls and helped carry the Boilers to victory. Rating: 8.5
∎ Trey Kaufman-Renn — A rough start with an air-ball on a wide-open 3 in a very quiet 7 first-half minutes, but he really stepped up in the second half. He showed his nice, smooth array of post moves with a few hook shots and had good rebounding position for some key boards and fouls. When Edey was on the bench, TKR attacked the basket with positive results, with six second-half points. Rating: 5.5
∎ Braden Smith — He’s the Boilermakers’ maestro and he was a perfect 4-for-4 in the first half, and it was his jumper that ended a 14-0 Gonzaga run early on. He finished with 13 points, six assists, FIVE steals and four rebounds and showed he could step up against top competition. Rating: 8.5
∎ Fletcher Loyer — Definitely not the best performance from Loyer, who managed to throw too high to Edey on an entry pass (not an easy feat) and missed some wide-open 3s, including an air-ball. He was 0-for-6 from the field, with one rebound, one assist and three turnovers in 24 minutes. He needs to get his mojo back or he may see his role diminished with plenty of eager Boilermakers waiting in the wings. Rating: 2.0
∎ Lance Jones — He had a quiet first half, but he really kicked it up a gear in the second half. He had a nice steal and layup, then finished again in transition before his 3-pointer off a nice pass from Smith tied the score at 39-39. His transition layup (off another pass from Smith) forced a Gonzaga timeout. He finished with 13 points, most of it coming close to the basket, as he was 1-of-6 behind the arc. Rating: 6.5
∎ Mason Gillis — He had a ball go straight through his hands that led to an easy breakaway dunk for the Bulldogs but came right back and hit a 3 to respond. It was his only basket to go with two rebounds, three assists and three turnovers. Rating: 4.0
∎ Ethan Morton — Got beat a few times on defense, including giving up an and-1 opportunity. He didn’t attempt a shot or record a rebound or assist in 12 minutes. Rating: 3.0
∎ Camden Heide — He got loose for an alley-oop off a nice lob from Smith and added a good block in transition. He had two rebounds and two points in 10 minutes and is a nice depth piece to develop while the Boilers keep winning. Heckuva luxury. Rating: 5.5
∎ Caleb Furst — Furst grabbed some strong rebounds among the trees, pulling down five rebounds in just 13 minutes. His steal and jam pushed Purdue’s lead to 71-57 and was the cherry on top. Rating: 5.5
∎ Myles Colvin — The kid just keeps making 3s (2-of-4 from behind the arc). His two makes came on back-to-back possessions late in the game, demoralizing the Bulldogs. He’s hit multiple 3s in all four of Purdue’s games and seems to be screaming for a larger role with some of those ahead of him on the depth chart struggling to make 3s. Rating: 6.0