PURDUE 77, LIBERTY 64
MELBOURNE, FL. — Purdue shot 58 percent from the field and enjoyed productive efforts from multiple young players, moving the Boilermakers past Liberty in the opening game of the 2020 Space Coast Challenge.
Purdue (1-0) will face either Clemson or Mississippi State in Thursday’s championship game.
Three Purdue freshmen paced the team’s attack in the first half, as 7-foot-4 Zach Edey scored 19 points, Jaden Ivey tallied eight points and Brandon Newman added seven. Liberty’s Micaiah Abii, also a freshman, was 5-for-5 from the field in the half and had 12 points.
Purdue led by as many as nine points in the first half. A 3-pointer from Darius McGhee drew the Flames within 36-32, but Aaron Wheeler bombed in a 3 with two seconds left to give the Boilermakers a 39-32 lead at the break.
The second half saw Purdue maintain its lead, moving ahead 62-50 with 10:09 to go on a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thompson. Liberty made one last push, with a long 3-pointer from McGhee and two free throws from Abii making it 68-62 with 5:16 remaining.
Purdue answered with a 3-pointer from Sasha Stefanovic and a dunk by Edey, and the Boilermakers led 73-62 with 4:32 to go.
McGhee had 21 points and six rebounds, and Abii closed with 19 points. Purdue ended up with 12 points from Ivey and 10 from Wheeler; Trevion Williams had 11 rebounds and five assists. The Boilermakers closed with a 30-24 edge in rebounding and had an advantage of 36-14 in terms of points in the paint.