Balanced attack of No. 2 Purdue set to host depleted Florida State
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Purdue jumped to No. 2 in the polls this week, matching its highest ranking in school history.
Now, the Boilermakers (6-0) will try to keep the good times rolling when they host Florida State (5-1) on Tuesday night in West Lafayette, Ind.
Purdue is coming off a 97-40 blowout win over Omaha, which followed high-profile victories over then-No. 18 North Carolina and No. 5 Villanova. The Boilermakers' flurry of early-season success led to the school's first No. 2 ranking since March 7, 1988.
"A lot of teams settle and they get comfortable, and we had to build off the energy of last weekend," Purdue forward Trevion Williams said. "Our goal was to come out strong, and we did."
Williams, who is tied for the team lead with 7.7 rebounds per game, is part of a deep roster that includes both size and speed. Seven-foot-four center Zach Edey leads the team with 17.7 points to go along with 7.7 boards, matching Williams, while also blocking 1.5 shots per game.
Next on the scoring list comes the backcourt duo of Jaden Ivey (15.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists) and Sasha Stefanovic (13.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists). Williams ranks fourth in scoring with 13.0 points per game to go along with his high-level rebounding.
"Our ability inside, our size, is a huge advantage for us," Purdue coach Matt Painter said.
Florida State has won four straight. The Seminoles' loss was a 71-55 setback at Florida in the second game of the season.
In its last game, Florida State survived a surprise challenge from Boston University. Matthew Cleveland grabbed an offensive rebound and scored a put-back basket with 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Seminoles to an 81-80 win on their home court.
"Obviously, we had an interesting turn of events," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. "I'm very pleased to come away from this game with a victory."
Against Purdue, Florida State will have to find a way to compete despite being short-handed. The Seminoles are expected to be without starting point guard RayQuan Evans, starting center Tanor Ngom and backup center Naheem McLeod.
Evans is with his family attending funeral services for his brother, who died after a fight against leukemia. Hamilton said he and the rest of the team were keeping Evans and his family in their thoughts as they grieved.
Meanwhile, Ngom has a sprained knee and McLeod has a sprained ankle.
The trio of absences could increase pressure on the Seminoles' top scorers to produce. Malik Osborne leads the team with 12.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, while Cleveland (10.8 points per game) and Caleb Mills (10.5) also are averaging in double digits.
The matchup will mark the end of a seven-game start against nonconference foes for Purdue, which is set to face Iowa in its Big Ten opener on Friday.
Florida State will host Syracuse on Saturday in its ACC opener.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 29, 2021