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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga unable to keep pace with Zach Edey, Purdue in 84-66 loss at Phil Knight Legacy

Nov. 25, 2022 Updated Sat., Nov. 26, 2022 at 10:52 a.m.

PORTLAND – They quelled their turnover issues. They threw the first punch, racing out to an eight-point lead less than 5 minutes in. They got another 20-point outing from Drew Timme, season-high production from Nolan Hickman and late shot-making from reserve forward Ben Gregg.

Under normal circumstances, all things that would equate to a Gonzaga win. On some occasions, a lopsided win.

On Friday against No. 24 Purdue? Footnotes to another discouraging double-digit loss that left the Bulldogs scratching their heads and searching for some solutions.

The Boilermakers lagged through the game’s first 10 minutes before correcting their 3-point shooting issues and force-feeding 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey, who finished with 23 points, helping lead Purdue past Gonzaga 84-66 in a second-round Phil Knight Legacy game at the Moda Center.

After a day off in the Rose City, Gonzaga (4-2) will play for third place on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. against Xavier (4-2). The Musketeers, in the first year of Sean Miller’s second tenure at the school, lost 71-64 to Duke at the Moda Center.

Coming off a 102-point outing the night prior against Portland State and an 88-point effort on Sunday against Kentucky, Gonzaga was held to 28 points in the first half, didn’t get to the free-throw line until the 7:05 mark in the second half and finished with a 40% field-goal percentage .

“They decided not to guard some of our guys and I think that threw off some of the things we do, but then we adjusted to that and when we were patient, we got any look we wanted,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “… We missed a lot of layins around the rim. Some were Edey-influenced and some weren’t. We took more than a couple – five, six or seven pull-up jumpers that we didn’t need to.”

With Friday’s 18-point loss to the Boilermakers and a 19-point loss to Texas on Nov. 16 at the Moody Center, the Zags have lost multiple nonconference games by double figures for the first time since 2010-11.

At an early juncture of the game against Purdue, it looked like Gonzaga may be the team pocketing a second straight double-digit win over a Top 25 opponent.

The Bulldogs scored the game’s first points on a Timme 3-pointer and took a 12-4 lead on the forward’s hook shot with 15:21 remaining in the half.

Timme brought a pro-Zags crowd to its feet when he recovered on the defensive end to spike the ball out of Edey’s hands, but stops on Edey – and stops on the Boilermakers – were hard to come by in the game’s final 30 minutes.

Purdue’s hulking junior squeezed eight points and two dunks into the last 10 minutes of the first half before dominating the second with 15 more points.

Edey, the tallest player in Big Ten history, made 10 of 16 from the field, had seven rebounds and blocked three shots.

“Yeah man, he’s a moose,” Timme said. “He just camps out down there, he’s strong, he knows how to use his body and he knows how to get to his hook.

“You kind of just got to put your hands up and hope he misses it.”

Edey’s takeover was one facet of Purdue’s win, but the center also got some timely help from his backcourt, the group largely responsible for the Boilermakers’ perimeter-shooting turnaround.

Purdue opened 1 of 11 from the field and 1 of 8 from the 3-point line but fixed those issues before half ended and closed the game by making 9 of 18 from beyond the arc.

Purdue’s freshman guard tandem of Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith combined to score 14 apiece and 5 of 10 shots from the 3-point line.

“They’re freshman and they don’t play like it, they don’t act like it,” Edey said. “… They really have a high level of self-confidence. Which I’m envious, I don’t think I had that when I was a freshman.”

The Boilermakers had a 46-31 advantage on the glass and scored 32 points in the paint.

Outside of Timme, who scored 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting, and Hickman, who made three 3-pointers en route to 15 points , Gonzaga lacked offensive contributors in its second-lowest scoring game of the young season.

Rasir Bolton scored 11 points, though it came on 4-of-12 shooting, and guards Malachi Smith and Hunter Sallis were held to five points on 2-of-11 shooting after combining for 36 against Portland State.

Gregg entered early in the first half, made a few defensive stands on Edey and scored a career-high nine points in the second half before fouling out.

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