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Edey matches season high with 35 points in hometown, No. 4 Purdue beats Alabama 92-86 in Toronto

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Edey matches season high with 35 points in hometown, No. 4 Purdue beats Alabama 92-86 in Toronto
AP
IAN HARRISON
December 09, 2023

TORONTO (AP) — Zach Edey matched his season high with 35 points in his hometown, Braden Smith had a season-high 27 points and No. 4 Purdue rallied to beat Alabama 92-86 on Saturday.

In front of a pro-Purdue crowd in Canada that included several of his friends and family, Edey played in his home city for the first time since 2016-17, when he was a sophomore in high school.

“It’s amazing to be back,” Edey said. “They really came out, they showed love, they really supported us. Every time we needed a pick-me-up, the crowd was there for us.”

The senior center made 11 free throws without a miss and was 12 for 20 from the field. He also had seven rebounds.

“Obviously, Zach Edey is a leading candidate for national player of the year,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “You can see why, he’s a tough cover. We didn’t do a terrible job on him and he had 35 points. He makes things difficult.”

Edey passed Robbie Hummel to move into the top 10 on Purdue’s career scoring list.

“He’s a cornerstone of our program,” Boilermakers coach Matt Painter said of Edey. “Being able to schedule this game and get him back here was great. We should do this, you know, for everything he’s done for us.”

Edey stayed on the court after the game to salute the crowd, then shared a hug with his mother, who came down from the stands to give her son one of the shirts his group all wore: a yellow tee with ‘Welcome to Zach’s House’ printed in black letters across the chest.

Smith shot 9 for 20 and had eight assists for Purdue (9-1), which has won 32 straight nonconference regular-season games.

“He was big time,” Painter said. “I thought Braden made great decisions all night.”

The Boilermakers connected on 24 of 28 free-throw attempts.

Mark Sears scored a season-high 35 points for Alabama (6-3), going 8 for 16 from 3-point range, but the Crimson Tide lost for the third time in six games. Alabama has not won consecutive games since starting the season 4-0.

Purdue took its first lead of the game, 62-60, on a 3-pointer by Mason Gillis with 11:24 left in the second half. After Alabama missed, Smith capped a 12-0 run with another 3, putting the Boilermakers up 65-60.

Sears connected on four of six attempts from long range in the first half, when 13 of Alabama’s 15 made baskets were 3-pointers. The Crimson Tide led 49-47 at the intermission.

“The way they came out in the first half, it was like they were never going to miss,” Painter said.

UP NEXT

Alabama: At Creighton next Saturday.

Purdue: Host Arizona next Saturday.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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