At the Maui Invitational, you expect offense and nothing less. In Game 2 of the Maui Invitational, Purdue and Gonzaga delivered offense aplenty in a 73-63 thriller.
Zach Edey, the reigning Wooden Award Winner, dropped in two hook shots to push Purdue out to an early 4-0 lead. Gonzaga responded with consecutive threes from Nolan Hickman and Graham Ike, the latter of whom had to spend the entire game glued to Edey on defense.
Down 6-0, Gonzaga responded with a 12-0 run into the first media timeout. Ike paced the Bulldogs during this stretch, scoring 7 of the 12 points while starting 4-5 from the field.
Purdue's Braden Smith and Mason Gillis dropped in threes midway through the half to cut the deficit, but Ryan Nembhard dropped in another jumper to put Gonzaga's lead back to 6 into the second media timeout.
"R-2" was surgical, pushing Gonzaga's pace to fuel their insane up-tempo style. Gonzaga scored 7 points off turnovers and 4 points in the fast break in the first half.
Mark Few's group froze Edey after a 2-2 start, forcing the senior forward to go 1-7 over the next 10 minutes.
At the half, Gonzaga led the Boilermakers 35-30.
Smith, who took control of Purdue's perimeter game in the first half, entered the break with 8. Edey led all scorers with 15, while Ike posted 10 for Gonzaga. Nembhard and Hickman combined for 14 first-half points, while Nembhard recorded 4 assists.
Purdue opened the second half with two quick scores by Smith and Lance Jones to cut Gonzaga's lead to 3. Nembhard would punch back with two jumpers of his own in a back-and-forth affair.
Edey came back to life out of the under-16 timeout with a monster jam and a put-back layup, putting the Boilermakers back on top 44-43. Jones continued his fine play with a few fancy layups and emerged into the secondary scoring role that Purdue desperately needs.
The Bulldogs got caught up in Purdue's high-octane pace, going cold from range and allowing Purdue to build momentum.
With 9:57 left in the half, Hickman hit Anton Watson for a huge and-1 dunk, the drawn foul swinging some momentum in Gonzaga's favor. Watson would miss the ensuing free throw.
Following the under-8 timeout, Gonzaga cut the lead back down to 3 with a key Watson layup and several strung together stops.
Myles Colvin hit two enormous three pointers in the final four minutes while Zach Edey poured it on. Edey's 25 points and 14 boards fueled a 73-63 victory for Purdue. His 42nd career double-double, Edey now ranks sixth amongst all active D1 players.
Purdue's 43-point outburst helped the Boilermakers, but it was how they generated such an outburst: Smith and Jones combined for 26 points.
Matt Painter's group looked every bit a National Title contender on Monday, as outlasting Gonzaga's fast break is no easy task. Purdue's guard play looked more profound and dynamic than in years past.
The key will be who will step up off Painter's bench, and Myles Colvin played unsung hero for the Boilermakers, who advance to the semi-final of the Maui Invitational to play Tennessee.