WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue guard Brandon Newman gave himself a lift with his defense.
“My defense gave me energy and put me in a better position,” the junior reserve said.
Newman scored 18 points to lead No. 1 Purdue to an 82-49 victory against Florida A&M on Thursday.
Newman went 7 for 13 from the field, including 3 for 6 from 3-point range. He also had a career-high five blocked shots to go along with four rebounds.
“When you are playing well as a team defensively you get more energy,” Purdue center Zach Edey said. “He’s out there blocking shots and looking like LeBron (James) chasing guys down.”
Purdue coach Matt Painter said Newman’s shooting and defense were big.
“He’s a weapon from an offensive standpoint,” he said. “He’s got to get comfortable in games and take what comes his way. When he starts forcing things, he puts himself in binds.”
After missing Purdue’s previous game due to illness, Edey had 14 points and a team-high 10 rebounds in 22 minutes. Also scoring in double figures for Purdue (13-0) was Trey Kaufman-Renn with 11 and Caleb Furst with 10.
Dimingus Stevens and Jordan Tillmon each had eight points for the Rattlers (2-9).
After leading 42-29 at halftime, the Boilermakers dominated the second half. Purdue’s largest lead was 41 points at 80-39.
“There wasn’t a particular halftime message,” Edey said. “They were making shots that we wanted them to take. … It was just keep playing defensively and keep rebounding.”
The Rattlers shot just 23.1% in the second half. The Boilermakers committed just seven turnovers compared to 13 for the Rattlers.
Florida A&M: The Rattlers played a No. 1 team for the second time in the program history, also losing to No. 1 Duke in the 1999 NCAA Tournament. Duke went on to win the NCAA title. It was Florida A&M’s third consecutive loss.
Purdue: The Boilermakers remained one of three unbeaten men’s teams in major college basketball, along with UConn and New Mexico. Purdue is 2-0 in the Big Ten.
“Competition is going to get harder and teams are going to know what to scout,” Purdue’s Mason Gillis said. “There are going to be closer games down toward the end. We’ll find out who can play under pressure.”
3-POINT SHOOTING STRUGGLES
The Boilermakers made just 6 of 25 3-pointers, dropping the team’s season average to 30.5%.
“Shots will fall. We’ll keep shooting. We’ll stay in the gym and just keep playing hard,” Newman said.
Florida A&M: Hosts Bethune Cookman on Monday.
Purdue: Hosts Rutgers on Monday.
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