12/11/2023 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Tide Turned Edition

Photo: Mark Elsner

Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports.

“Oh Canada. My home and native land.”

Zach Edey (Probably)

As I anxiously await my children’s return home from college, this holiday season, I am getting that nostalgia bump that comes with the month of December.

When I was in college, I loved being off, doing my own thing. I would study hard during the week, attending accumulating credits for my classes. Come the weekend I would drift off to the Cactus or Harrys. I never missed a Purdue basketball game, never missed a football game. I had the time of my life.

As the semester winded down, it was time for me to return home. While it is always a blast to be down on campus living my best life, there was always comfort at home. My parents, siblings, grandparents, and dogs would all, finally, be back, under the same roof. A home cooked meal following months of Famous Frank’s, and Jake’s hotdogs was not only good for my stomach balance, but good four my soul. There is something special about coming home.

Zach Edey has played his entire basketball career in a completely different country than that which he grew up in. While he has made a new pathway for himself, he has been separated from his family, his friends, the city streets which he called home. That was, until Saturday, when Zach Edey’s countrymen saw him play a hell of a college basketball game, on his home turf.

There is something special about coming home.

The Games:

#4 Purdue 87, Iowa 68:

The Boilermakers got right following the Northwestern loss, This was a game which was a complete throttling, Purdue only won by 19 points, despite being up well over 30 for much of the game.

Zach Edey had 25 & 12, in only 24 minutes of playtime. Lance Jones added 17, with TKR, Loyer, and Gillis all scoring in double digits.

For once it was nice to have a nice, relaxing, never in doubt, basketball contest. My blood pressure thanks you.

Iowa Photo Gallery: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/Purdue-Mens-Basketball/23-24/Iowa/

#4 Purdue 92, Alabama 86:

Purdue traveled north of the border to take on Alabama, and the Boilermakers ran into a buzzsaw. Alabama came out scorching hot, shooting almost exclusively from 3 point range. The Crimson Elephants hit 13 three pointers in the first half (tying their then season high). The second half, Alabama cooled off, but still bombed away from three, making 19 for the game on an astonishing 46 total attempts. An incredible performance, from a very talented Crimson Tide team. Mark Sears went off for 35 points, making 8 three pointers, repeatedly/emphatically “shushing” the partisan Canadian Boilermaker crowd. Freshly off of suspension Nick Pringle echoed this attitude, scuffling with Zach Edey, nearly coming to blows at one point of the game. Despite his zero points, and fouling out early, Pringle brought the physicality and attitude to the game. Alabama was in Canada to do one thing. Win.

Except…

Zach Edey was dominant in his homecoming. His 35 points mirrored Mark Sears. While Sears was bombing away from beyond the arc, Zach’s points were an inevitability. There was no stopping him, and the only way to do so was to foul. Joining Edey, was gutsy play by Braden Smith. Smith came up huge with 27 points, hitting huge daggers down the stretch, and only turning the ball over 1 time. While no other Boilermaker scored in double digits, 9 players across the roster scored.

In the end, it was Zach Edey who was “shushing” the Crimson Tide.

Break It Down:

Purdue has found yet another way to win in this young season. The Boilers were being smacked around by the hot shooting Alabama squad, but they fought back. Lets not beat around the bush here, this Alabama team is very good.

To see Purdue take gut punch after gut punch in the first half, only to be barely down at halftime is a feat in itself. To defeat a team that hits 19 threes, that is incredible.

They did it on the backs of a Herculean effort from Zach Edey, and an equally impressive performance from Braden Smith. This is Purdue’s Batman and Robin. They saved the day yet again.

What Went Well:

  • ONE: Turnover from Braden Smith against Alabama in 36 minutes of play. This is against a highly athletic, nasty Alabama squad. Very Well Done!
  • Mason Gillis: May not be getting the full minutes that he may deserve, but he is making the most of them when he is in there. He brings a killer instinct to this team. Mason scored 12 points in only 13 minutes against Iowa. Against Alabama, his stat line doesn’t tell the story. 5 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists… but the defense he played and the aggressive rebounds came when Purdue needed them the most.
  • Myles Colvin: Is starting to get -it-. His defense is continuing to improve, and he was given an opportunity to show what he could do in crunch time against Alabama. He logged 15 minutes, but was in during crunch time. One of his two steals came as the the Crimson Tide were trying to close the gap. Great to see the young man coming into his own.

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Stop the Bleeding: When a team is bombing away from 3 like Alabama was, the Boilermakers couldn’t do much to stem the tide. Now, I get it, when a team is thermo nuclear from beyond the 3 point line, you can feel helpless on defense. Whether it is fighting over screens, or potentially throwing out a (gasp) zone in these occasions can help slow down a hot shooting team.
  • 68%: from the FT line against Iowa is not encouraging. While Purdue did bounce back against Alabama shooting a hefty 85.7%, there is a certain contingent of Boilermaker players who are seemingly guaranteed to miss one of two from the line.

Big Man on Campus:

Whether or not he is on campus or in Canada, this week’s BMOC award goes to Zach Edey. Zach averaged 30 points and 9.5 rebounds in the two contests, defeating a Big Ten opponent and a strong out of conference opponent. Well done, young man!

A Look Ahead:

#4 Purdue may not see much of a change in the rankings this week, but they still leave the week with one of the most impressive victories in the nation. They will have their chance, however, to make some noise gong forward.

Purdue plays another out of conference banger this week, taking on #1 Arizona in Indianapolis. While Arizona has the higher rank, Purdue should be able to match up well with the Wildcats. This is a tremendous Arizona team, so this game will be the non-conference game of the year for the NCAA. You can catch this matchup on Saturday on… (checks notes)… PEACOCK?!? Freaking PEACOCK?!? Ugh.

If you have the chance to, just go ahead and buy tickets! Flood Indianapolis this weekend, and you’ll get to see a top 5 matchup in the state capital!

For more content like this follow @ISC_Purdue on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. For a deeper look into the mad mind of Ben Kolodzinski, follow him at @BRKolo on Twitter. WARNING: Viewer’s discretion is advised…

About Benjamin Kolodzinski 105 Articles
Blending the passion of a sports fan with years of media experience, Ben Kolodzinski is a unique personality for ISC Purdue. Since the 2017-18 NCAA seasons, Ben has written weekly columns for ISC, with a style that can only be described as snarky, irreverent, and often times irrelevant. A 2008 graduate from Purdue West Lafayette, Kolodzinski has worked for several local and regional media outlets. Best known for his television and radio work at Lakeshore Public Media (Lakeshore Public Television, and 89.1 The Lakeshore), Kolodzinski helped grow Northwest Indiana's only nightly news show Lakeshore News Tonight, along with The Region's only local sports shows Prep Sports Report, and Prep Football Report. As of 2022, Kolodzinski hosts Lakeshore Gamenight, a prep football radio show and cohosts Lakeshore PBS Scoreboard, a prep football TV highlight show. Kolodzinski is known, locally, for having a fun loving and gregarious personality, and for attempting to inject humor into his reporting... sometimes successfully.

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