WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue center Zach Edey donned Sunday’s postgame prizes with pride.
A bloody lip felt like a championship belt, and the homemade T-shirt his mother handed him was a reminder of how far his all-around game has come in three college seasons.
Edey scored a career-high 38 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading No. 1 Purdue to a 77-61 victory over Michigan State.
“When they started hacking me, it got me going a little bit. They busted my lip in the second half,” Edey said with a smile. “They always play super physical.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, the two best games of his career both came against Michigan State over the past two weeks. This time, his mother, Julia, rewarded him with a shirt bearing a new nickname, “Big Maple,” on the front and a new moniker, “He’s not just tall, eh?” on the back.
Edey, who had 32 points and 17 rebounds in a 64-63 win at Michigan State on Jan. 16, appreciated the gesture after going 15 of 24 from the field. He also had three assists and a career-best three steals.
Once again, Michigan State had no answers.
“If one guy gets 70 points in two games, you can’t blame that on the players. Blame the coach,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. “We just couldn’t cover him.”
At 7-foot-4, 290 pounds, Edey is a load, but he had help Sunday.
David Jenkins Jr. added a season-best 11 points and Fletcher Loyer had nine as the Big Ten-leading Boilermakers (21-1, 10-1) won their eighth straight.
A.J. Hoggard led Michigan State with 20 points and Jaden Akins had 12. The Spartans (14-8, 6-5) haven’t won at Mackey Arena since 2014, and Edey stood in their way again.
After scoring just four points and grabbing only one rebound in the first 12 minutes, he heated up quickly and put the Spartans in deep trouble.
A stretch of eight consecutive points for Edey sent the Boilermakers on a half-closing 23-5 run. Izzo also drew a technical foul at the end of the first half, and Braden Smith converted both free throws for a 42-22 lead before the second half started.
Edey was just warming up.
He scored Purdue’s first three baskets in the second half. When Michigan State went on a 7-0 run to close to 53-43, Edey made two layups and four free throws, extending the lead to 61-45 with 8:58 to play.
Michigan State: While the Spartans may be getting stronger, facing Edey twice in 13 days is enough to challenge any team. The good news: Michigan State won’t see Purdue again until at least March and may have contended with Edey for the last time.
Purdue: The Boilermakers are rolling. Not only have they won eight straight, 23 straight opponents have failed to top the 70-point mark and now they’re finding complementary pieces for Edey, too. It’s a dangerous combination — for Purdue’s opponents.
The Boilermakers solidified their No. 1 ranking this week by sweeping the Big Ten’s two Michigan schools. Purdue is the only Power Five program with fewer than two losses and despite some close calls, Purdue has avoided the pitfalls others have not.
The game featured two of the conference’s most successful coaches.
Izzo and Purdue coach Matt Painter became the third set of coaches with 400 or more wins to square off in a Big Ten game, joining Gene Keady and Bob Knight and Knight and former Illinois coach Lou Henson. Painter and Izzo also tied Keady and Knight for the most combined wins by two coaches on the sideline for a Big Ten game (1,084).
Michigan State: Faces Rutgers on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Purdue: Welcomes former assistant coach Micah Shrewsberry and Penn State back to Mackey Arena on Wednesday.