Purdue and preseason all-Big Ten pick Zach Edey present a tall challenge for visiting Milwaukee in the nonconference season opener for both teams on Tuesday.
Edey, a 7-foot-4 junior center, averaged 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in just 19 minutes per game last season for the Boilermakers, who finished a half-game back in the Big Ten behind co-champs Illinois and Wisconsin and 29-8 overall.
Milwaukee, under first-year coach Bart Lundy and with 13 new players, was picked No. 9 in the Horizon League preseason poll. Lundy replaces Pat Baldwin, who was fired following a season-ending, first-round conference tournament loss. Baldwin was 57-92 in his five seasons, including 10-22 last season.
His son, Patrick Baldwin Jr., then also departed after an injury-plagued freshman year at Milwaukee and was the 28th overall pick in the NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors.
Purdue, which lost in the Sweet 16 last season to Saint Peter’s, must also replace leading scorer Jaden Ivey (17.3 ppg), now with the NBA’s Detroit Pistons; forward Trevion Williams (12.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg); and sharpshooting Sasha Stefanovic (10.4 ppg), who had a team-best 87 3-pointers. Guards Eric Hunter Jr. and Isaiah Thompson transferred out.
The Boilermakers trounced Truman State 102-57 in their exhibition game Wednesday. Edey had 23 points on 8-of-9 shooting, along with seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 16 minutes.
Purdue had four other players in double figures: Trey Kaufman-Renn, a 6-9 redshirt freshman forward, had 15 points; Brandon Newman had 13; Utah transfer David Jenkins Jr. had 12; and Caleb Furst had 11.
“Just trying to find the right group who can defend. I don’t think anybody really jumped off the page tonight in terms of defensive prowess,” said Boilermakers coach Matt Painter, who is 384-192 in 17 seasons at Purdue. “So that’s what we’re really kind of concerned with. How can we beat quality people without just outscoring people. So, that’s what we’re working toward.”
Milwaukee was scheduled to play an exhibition opener Monday night against Milwaukee School of Engineering.
Lundy arrives at Milwaukee following nine years at Queens University, an NCAA Division II school in Charlotte, N.C., posting a 30-4 mark last season.
Lundy prefers an up-tempo style of play and full-court man-to-man defense.
“I like to tell people that we’re going to defend every board up the floor and every bounce on every pass,” Lundy said. “We’ve got good depth and you have to have good depth for the way we play. And then when we get the ball back, we’re going to run, make or miss.”
Among the transfers on the Milwaukee roster is 6-8 senior forward Ahmad Rand, who averaged 5.3 points last season at Oregon State after previous stops at Memphis and University of South Carolina-Salkehatchie.
Forward Keon Edwards played in 19 games last season at Nebraska. Sophomore guard Kentrell Pullian, a transfer from Eastern New Mexico, was the 2022 Lone Star Conference Freshman of the Year and had a team-best 12 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Purdue was 16-1 at home last season, but in their last meeting in 2005, Milwaukee upset the Boilermakers 73-68 in West Lafayette, Ind.
–Field Level Media