Piscataway, N.J. – Vincent Edward spent the early part of the week resting in bed due to an illness, and vomited when No. 3 Purdue arrived in New Jersey. While trainers are unsure if he is dealing with a sinus issue or the flue, it didn’t seem to have an effect on his game.
Despite missing the past two days of practice, Edward had 18 points, seven rebounds and eight assists to help the Boilermakers hold on to beat Rutgers 78-76 on Saturday for a school-record 19th straight win.
“Just keep driving and keep pushing. Just try to be out there and be aggressive. Try not to mentally let the physicality of how my body was feeling get to me. Try to be mentally stronger than that,” Edward said of how he was able to play through illness. “Especially when my coaches depend on me to do things for this team and my teammates depend on me to be out there so I’m just trying to give it all for my team.”
Mathis Dakota scored 16 points, Carsen Edwards had 13 and P.J. Thompson added 12 points for Purdue (23-2, 12-0 Big Ten).
Corey Sanders had 31 points and seven rebounds, and Deshawn Freeman added 14 points and nine rebounds for Rutgers (12-13, 2-10), which overcame a 15-point first-half deficit looked poised to pull off an upset at home.
“(Sanders is) a guy that is very streaky. He can really get it going and carry his team. It is just one of those things that you tip your hat to him. He is a good player,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said, adding, “they had a tough loss the other day and that is what I told the guys, ‘they beat Seton Hall here, they’ve had a sell out before. These guys have pride. They had a bad game last game and they are going to bounce back, fight and compete.’
“I thought physically they took it to us at times. They were very physical and obviously rebounding. I was very impressed with them.”
Freeman’s fastbreak dunk cut Purdue’s lead to six, forcing Painter to call a timeout with 15:29 to go. However, Matt Bullock corralled a defensive rebound on the ensuing possession and hit Sanders with an outlet pass and he made the fastbreak layup and the foul shot to pull the Scarlet Knights to 46-43.
Rutgers pulled within one on two occasions. Shaquile Doorson had a put-back dunk off of Geo Baker’s missed layup to get to 48-47 with 12:28 left, and Freeman had a tip-in on a miss by Sanders to make it 55-54 with 8:06 remaining, However, that was as close as the Scarlet Knights got the rest of the way.
“It’s tough when you’re getting everybody’s best look night in and night out,” Thompson said. “You’re not going to win every game by 20, 25 when you’re the number one team in the league, No. 3 in the country, on the road you’re going to get everybody’s tough shot.”
Rutgers took a 3-0 lead on Issa Thiam’s 3-pointer. Purdue tied it 29 seconds later after Thiam fouled Thompson on a 3-pointer. Edwards stole the ball and hit a layup on Rutgers’ ensuing possession to give the Boilermakers their first lead. They led 38-27 at halftime.
“We have hit a lot of obstacles, they just keep fighting,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “Guys stepped up today that haven’t played a lot. When you are building a program, you got to go through a lot of stuff. I think (Purdue) is the best team in the country. … If there is a better team inside and out in the country, I haven’t seen them yet.”
(At) Penn State 82, Iowa 58: Mike Watkins scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season as Penn State won its third in its last four outings.
The rout was satisfying for the Nittany Lions (16-9, 6-6 Big Ten Conference), who’ve played well in most of their games. But they’ve watched other second-half leads evaporate and turn into losses.
Road games at Northwestern and Maryland come to mind. The most recent example? Penn State led No. 5 Michigan State by 12 with 15:23 left but lost 76-68 on Wednesday.
“I was concerned about our mindset coming into the game,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “Man, did they really step up after that Michigan State game and came back to work. That’s growth. That’s a little bit of maturity.”
Lamar Stevens added 17 points and Tony Carr had 16 for the Nittany Lions, who’ve won three of their last four.
Penn State seized control early when a dunk from Watkins with 12:39 left in the first half turned a 14-all tie into a 33-14 run. Carr fueled it with 12 points while Watkins had eight during the stretch to give Penn State a 47-28 halftime lead.
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes – who made 12 3-pointers in their last game against Minnesota – struggled to shoot the ball with sharpshooter Jordan Bohannon sick.
Bohannon started the game but played only half of it and the Hawkeyes made just 38 percent of their shots on 21-for-55 shooting. Penn State’s quick guards were able to hold the rest of Iowa’s shooters to just 1-for-10 on 3-pointers.
“This team puts a lot of pressure on you at the point of attack,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “All the more reason we’ve got to get it moving.”
Shep Garner hit his third 3-pointer to open the second half and Iowa trailed by as many as 25 and got no closer than 14 the rest of the way.
Tyler Cook led Iowa (12-13, 3-9) with 19 points and Luka Garza had 13 for the Hawkeyes, who have dropped seven of their last 10.
“We’re making progress as a team,” Carr said. “Coach is making progress getting us to compete.”
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