Difference makers: Purdue tandem of Zach Edey, Braden Smith torments Gonzaga in 80-68 Sweet 16 victory

Mar. 29—Braden Smith

Two point guards in consideration for the Cousy Award earlier this season took the floor on Friday. Gonzaga's Ryan Nembhard and Purdue's Smith each had their moments, but it'll be the Boilermakers' sophomore guard advancing on to the Elite Eight after dishing out 15 assists — the second-highest total of his career — while scoring 14 points and nearing a triple-double with eight rebounds. Smith, a finalist for the award given to the best point guard in the country, commanded the floor for the Boilermakers while making 6 of 11 shots from the field, 2 of 4 from the 3-point line and committing just two turnovers.

Zach Edey

For the third time in as many games against Gonzaga, Edey was the best player on the floor, giving the Bulldogs issues with his sheer size and finishing ability. After scoring 23 points and grabbing rebounds against GU last year in the PK85, and posting a 25-point, 14-rebound double-double against the Bulldogs earlier this season at the Maui Invitational, Edey finished with 27 points and 14 rebounds in round three against Mark Few's team. The 7-foot-4 senior, who's likely to repeat as college basketball's player of the year, was on the floor for all but 2 minutes and finished 10 of 15 from the field to go with 7 of 10 from the free-throw line. He also finished with the game's second-best plus/minus, at plus-17.

Turning point

Gonzaga withstood a few of Purdue's scoring runs in the second half, but the Boilermakers broke the dam open with 12 minutes, 25 seconds left in the game, sprinting off on a 14-2 run and scoring 10 consecutive points to take their largest lead of the game (69-53) with 7:33 to play. Edey was responsible for half of Purdue's points during the scoring spree. Gonzaga didn't help its chances on the offensive end, missing 7 of 8 shot attempts and going scoreless for 3:34. The Bulldogs endured another offensive drought later in the half, failing to score for 2:34 as the Boilermakers stretched their lead out to a game-high 18 points with approximately 2 minutes to play.