No. 3 Purdue looks to continue strong start against lowly Omaha

·3 min read

No. 3 Purdue will look to start 6-0 for the first time since the 2015-16 season when the Boilermakers host Omaha in a nonconference game on Friday in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Boilermakers will be playing their first game before Christmas ranked in the top three since the 1987-88 season. Purdue has been ranked in the top three in previous years, but the occurrences were later in the season.

Purdue defeated Wright State (96-52) before claiming the Hall of Fame Tip-Off in Uncasville, Conn., by beating then-No. 18 North Carolina (93-84) and then-No. 5 Villanova (80-74). The victories propelled the Boilermakers to third in the rankings, their highest since it held the same spot in February 2018.

Trevion Williams was named the co-Big Ten Player of the Week, along with Iowa's Keegan Murray, after coming off the bench to average 16.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals in three victories last week. Williams is averaging 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game in just 17.6 minutes per game this season.

"Trevion's energy has really helped our team," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "It doesn't mean that Trevion might not ever start. I know this: He's great at finishing. Teams that don't sacrifice end up failing. This team has done a great job of sacrificing."

Zach Edey, a 7-foot-4, 295-pound center, is averaging a team-high 17.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.

Caleb Furst was named the league's Freshman of the Week after averaging 11.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game while shooting 13-of-17 (76.5 precent) from the field, 4-of-6 from 3-point range and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.

Furst is among five freshmen nationally, along with Memphis' Jalen Duren, Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren, Weber State's Dillon Jones and Arkansas State's Norchad Omier, to average 9.5 points and 7.0 rebounds while shooting 60.0 percent from the field.

Purdue is among four teams nationally, along with Santa Clara, Lipscomb and Colorado State, to shoot at least 52 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range and 74 percent from the free-throw line.

Omaha (1-4) extended its losing streak to four games while being shellacked 96-40 at Texas Tech on Tuesday. Now it will try to end Purdue's 10-game home winning streak against nonconference opponents, with just two of those games decided by less than 25 points.

Kyle Luedtke, who averages a team-high 9.6 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, along with Nick Ferrarini (8.0 points) are the only Mavericks who average more than 7.5 points per game.

Texas Tech outrebounded the Mavericks 45-26 and outscored them 54-10 in the paint. The Mavericks committed 19 turnovers that turned into 27 points for the Red Raiders.

--Field Level Media