Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Purdue Boilermakers Pick & Prediction JANUARY 13th 2023

Stadium: Mackey Arena West Lafayette
Logo Nebraska Cornhuskers
Logo Purdue Boilermakers

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No. 3 Purdue will play its first game since dropping from the top of the national rankings when it hosts Nebraska on Friday night in a Big Ten Conference game in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Boilermakers (15-1, 4-1) spent four weeks at No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 before losing at home to Rutgers on Jan. 2, but then rebounded with wins against Ohio State and Penn State. Down six at the half to the Nittany Lions on Sunday, Purdue started the second half on a 12-0 run and ended up winning by 13.

"We just had a great second half," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "We really showed some resiliency."

Zach Edey had 30 points and 13 rebounds in the win over Penn State, helping him earn Big Ten Player of the Week honors for the fourth time. The 7-foot-4 junior leads the conference in scoring (21.9 points per game), rebounding (13.2) and field goal shooting (63.1 percent) and is a frontrunner for various national player of the year awards.

Edey's defense has also been integral to Purdue holding teams to 39.7 percent shooting and 61.5 points per game, but Painter said that's been a team effort.

"Our guys have done a really good job with their discipline, of just doing their job," he said.

While Edey is the main focal point, Purdue also sports a pair of talented young guards in Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith. Loyer is averaging 12.4 points per game (16.0 in Big Ten competition) and Smith leads the Boilermakers in assists and steals.

Nebraska (9-8, 2-4) enters the matchup off a 76-50 home loss Tuesday to Illinois. The Cornhuskers shot 37.0 percent, committed 17 turnovers and were outrebounded 41-33.

Starting forward Juwan Gary suffered a shoulder injury late in the first half and his status for Friday's game is uncertain.

As poor as that performance was, there's reason for hope in the near future. Some of Nebraska's best games have come after losses, such as convincing November wins over Florida State and Boston College after tough setbacks to Oklahoma and Memphis. Its most recent win, on Saturday in overtime at Minnesota, came four days after losing by 18 at Michigan State.

"For whatever reason after losses we're bouncing back with good effort," Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg said. "After wins we're just not handling it right for whatever reason. It is frustrating. If we want to have a chance to play in the postseason, you have to string them together."

Purdue has won the last three meetings with Nebraska, but the Cornhuskers nearly took out the Boilermakers last month in what ended up being a 65-62 overtime result. That was in Lincoln, though, while Nebraska has never won at Mackey Arena, where Purdue had won 15 in a row at home before the Rutgers loss.

"We're going into the best team in the league's gym, which is the hardest place to play in our league, and hopefully we'll respond well," Hoiberg said.

If Gary can't go for Nebraska, either junior Keisei Tominaga or freshman Denim Dawson would likely start.

--Field Level Media

Nebraska Cornhuskers
Purdue Boilermakers

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Purdue Boilermakers

Carsen Edwards scored 27 points and sparked a 14-4 run at the beginning of the second half to lead No. 15 Purdue to an 81-62 win over the visiting Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Edwards' behind-the-back pass to Trevion Williams broke a 33-all tie, igniting Mackey Arena and deflating a Cornhusker defense that up until then had been playing with confidence.

Nojel Eastern followed with a layup and by the time Nebraska called a timeout at the 14:33 mark after a Grady Eifert 3-point jumper, Purdue had built a 47-35 lead.

The 6-foot-1 Edwards also made the defensive play of the game, blocking 6-foot-8 Tanner Borchardt's driving dunk attempt with Purdue leading by 10 at the 4:33 mark of the second half.

Purdue pulled away, making their free throws and opening up an 18-point lead.

Eifert scored 16 points, his first double-digit game in his career. Nojel Eastern added 12 and Ryan Cline 10 points for Purdue (17-6, 10-2 Big Ten), which won for the eighth straight time.

Thomas Allen came off the bench and scored 18 points to lead Nebraska (13-11, 3-10), which lost for the seventh consecutive game.

James Palmer Jr., the Big Ten's second-leading scorer at 19 points finished with 17.

There were six lead changes and three ties in the first half as the Cornhuskers came out and didn't play like a team that had lost six straight.

Nebraska played with confidence and was physical, making Edwards work hard for his nine first-half points.

Edwards was 4 of 10 from the field and 1-for-5 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes.

The Nebraska bench, mainly Allen and Nana Akenten were key in keeping the Cornhuskers in the game.

Allen scored six points and in just eight minutes, while Akenten had five points and five rebounds to offset Isaiah Roby and Glynn Watson Jr.'s struggles.

Watson, Nebraska's starting point guard scored one point in the first half. Roby was held to two points in the first half.

Purdue held Nebraska without a field goal for the final 5:23 of the half and took a 33-31 lead into intermission.

--Field Level Media