Zach Edey looks to continue historic run as No. 4 Purdue hosts Hofstra
Being unbeaten and ranked in the top 10 at this point in the season is nothing new for Purdue.
But it’s been a long time since the Boilermakers — or anyone — has seen a player perform like Zach Edey.
The 7-foot-4 Purdue center will look to maintain his potentially historic pace Wednesday night when the No. 4 Boilermakers put their unbeaten record on the line in a return to nonconference action against Hofstra in West Lafayette, Ind.
Purdue opened Big Ten play Sunday afternoon and Edey set career highs with 31 points and 22 rebounds as the Boilermakers routed visiting Minnesota 89-70. Hofstra, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, last played Wednesday, when the Pride fell to host George Mason 81-77 in overtime.
The win over Minnesota continued a torrid start for both Purdue (8-0, 1-0) and its junior big man.
This year’s unbeaten start has been fueled by Edey, who posted his sixth double-double of the season Sunday. He outrebounded Minnesota by himself (22-21) and became the first Purdue player to finish with at least 31 points and 22 rebounds in the same game since Terry Dischinger — whom the Boilermakers honored with a bobblehead giveaway on Sunday — collected 46 points and 22 rebounds against Minnesota on Feb. 24, 1962.
Edey is averaging 23.2 points, fourth most in the nation, and 12.8 rebounds per game, which ranks second most in the nation. The last Division I player to finish a season averaging at least 23 points and 12 rebounds was Kansas State’s Michael Beasley in 2007-08.
“He is just playing with confidence,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said Sunday. “Anybody who has been as consistent as he has so far this season, that is going to build confidence.”
The task of containing Edey and Purdue may be doubly challenging Wednesday for Hofstra (6-3), which was picked to finish second in the 13-team CAA.
An injury to 6-foot-8 guard Darlinstone Dubar — who was hit in the head three minutes into the game last Wednesday — could hamper the Pride’s rotation, which is anchored down low by 6-foot-8 forward Nelson Boachie-Yiadom and 6-foot-9 forward Warren Williams.
The Pride’s hopes of relying on its outside shooting against Purdue could hinge on the health of leading scorer Aaron Estrada, who suffered an ankle injury against George Mason and was helped off the floor by a pair of teammates after the final buzzer.
Estrada, the reigning CAA Player of the Year, finished with 31 points against George Mason and is averaging 21.7 per game this season, ninth in the country. He is shooting 42.9 percent from 3-point land for the Pride.
The game Wednesday will be the seventh of nine consecutive games away from home for Hofstra, which played in the Northern Classic in Canada on Thanksgiving weekend before heading to Fairfax, Va., to face George Mason.
“We had a tough, tough, tough couple games here with a lot of travel,” said Pride head coach Speedy Claxton, a Hofstra alum and 10-year NBA veteran. “So get these guys a couple days off, get their bodies right and get them ready for Purdue.”
This will mark the second all-time meeting between Hofstra and Purdue. The host Boilermakers earned an 83-54 win on Nov. 11, 2012.
–Field Level Media