Not that we did not already know Carsen Edwards was a very special player and has been carrying Purdue lately, but Thursday night was an absolutely dominant performance that helped No. 9-ranked Purdue beat Illinois on the road 93-86.
Carsen Edwards poured in a career-high 40 points on 11-19 shooting from the field, 4-8 from deep, and 14-16 from the free throw line along with 2 steals. Edwards strengthened his Big Ten Player of the Year candidacy with another huge performance for the Boilermakers. He has now scored 20+ points in his last three games, and four out of his last five performances.
Dakota Mathias added an excellent game as well, with 18 points on 7-11 shooting along with 8 rebounds. Isaac Haas chipped in 10 points and 2 blocks, while P.J. Thompson had 9 points.
Purdue and specifically P.J. Thompson would get off to a great start in the first half, with a 9-5 stretch over the first 3 minutes with 5 points coming from Thompson. After that, Illinois would hold the upper hand with a five-point lead about 4 minutes later. Purdue would have a response, taking the lead back and then extending it to 8-points with 7:05 left in the half. After Illinois would go on a 10-3 stretch going into the break, Purdue held a 43-38 halftime advantage.
Purdue would open the second half exchanging looks with Illinois but first took charge with 11:14 left and they had an 8-point lead. The Fighting Illini would fight their way back making it a competitive game down the stretch, but Carsen Edwards ultimately stole the show with 25 second-half points for Purdue. 7 free throws in the final 1:30 would pretty much do it for the Boilermakers, as they went on to outscore Illinois 50-48 in the second half.
Shooting was a strong suit for Purdue, who went 28-48 (58.3%) from the field, 11-23 (47.8%) from three, and 26-31 (83.9%) from the free throw line. Rebounding also went in the Boilermakers favor, who hauled in 33 total rebounds compared to Illinois’ 20. Finally, Purdue would dish out 13 assists while racking up 4 steals and reject 4 shots.
With the win, Purdue improves to 24-5 this season and 13-3 in the Big Ten. This is the first win for the Boilermakers in Champaign since 2014, which means the four seniors have won in every Big Ten arena.
Purdue will host Minnesota in the regular season finale this Sunday at 4:00 PM Eastern on Fox Sports One.