Minnesota coach Ben Johnson isn't sure how anyone can slow down Purdue big man Zach Edey.
“I don’t think there’s a team in the country that has an answer,” Johnson said.
The 7-foot-4 Edey set career highs with 31 points and 22 rebounds, powering No. 5 Purdue past Minnesota 89-70 Sunday in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Edey's previous career high for rebounds was 17.
“I have to guard (Edey) every day in practice, so I'm glad someone else is guarding him,” Purdue's 6-foot-9 Trey Kaufman-Renn said.
Edey started slowly, making only one of his first seven shots. The junior dominated after that, finishing 11 of 23 from the field and 9 of 10 from the foul line.
Gain a Better Understanding of Today
MPR News is not just a listener supported source of information, it's a resource where listeners are supported. We take you beyond the headlines to the world we share in Minnesota. Become a sustainer today to fuel MPR News all year long.
“I thought my first few misses were shots I usually take, a few rolled in and out,” Edey said. “I stuck with it and trusted my game and trusted my skills. Just kept shooting them and they eventually started falling.”
Edey has scored at least 20 points in seven straight games. That tied JaJuan Johnson, who did it in 2010-11, for longest streak in Matt Painter's 18 years as Purdue coach.
Fletcher Loyer scored 20 on 7-of-11 shooting for Purdue (8-0). Brandon Newman had 13 and Kaufman-Renn and Caleb First each scored 10.
Furst started in place of Mason Gillis, who sat out with a minor back injury. Painter said Gillis injured his back lifting weights.
“With Mason out, who is such a hard player and leader for us, we needed guys to step up and Trey and Caleb did a great job with that,” Loyer said.
Loyer said he was able to score in transition.
“Zach is such a force in the middle that I just attacked the weak side and get to the rim is what I had to do to help the team win,” Loyer said.
Jamison Battle led the Golden Gophers (4-4) with 21 points, hitting five of 10 3-pointers. Ta'Lon Cooper added 15 points for Minnesota.
“I thought the ball was moving more than it has, which is good," Johnsons said.
The Boilermakers used a 15-0 run to take 42-20 lead with 1:34 left in the half. Minnesota scored the final seven points before the break.
“We had a few lapses, but for the most part they were making those long contested two-pointers we wanted them to take,” Edey said of the Gophers shooting 53% in the second half.
Edey outrebounded Minnesota as a team as Purdue held a 41-21 rebounding edge. That led to Purdue's 17-2 advantage in second-chance points.
“The most impressive thing to me was his ability to go get rebounds in and around people," Painter said. “A lot of time you get bottled up and when you have that size, it's hard to have the balance and still explode and get the basketball.”
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers lost their third in a row overall. They've dropped four of their last five against Purdue.
Purdue: With two victories, Purdue figures to remain the top five. The Boilermakers, who were ranked as high as No. 1 last season, have been ranked in the top five in consecutive years for the first time since the 1986-87 and 1987-88. The Boilermakers have spent 13 of the past 23 AP polls ranked in the top five. The only team with more weeks in top five is Gonzaga (22).
Minnesota: Hosts Michigan on Thursday night.
Purdue: Hosts Hofstra on Wednesday night.