Zach Edey’s strong debut lifts Purdue to 77-64 win over Liberty

Purdue head coach Matt Painter talks with Zach Edey, of the 2020 recruiting class, on Oct. 19, 2019. Purdue Basketball Fan Day
Nikos Frazier | Journal & Courie

MELBOURNE, Fla. — Zach Edey scored 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting in his collegiate debut and Purdue fended off Liberty 77-64 in the opener of the Space Coast Challenge on Wednesday night.

Edey, a 7-foot4 freshman, led four Boilermakers into double-figure scoring with Jaden Ivey adding 12 and Aaron Wheeler and Brandon Newman 10 each.

Purdue shot nearly 60% from the floor (31-of-53), owned the boards 30-24 and outscored the Flames 36-14 in the paint. Edey was a big part of the close-in scoring with five of Purdue’s seven dunks. Wheeler and Trevion Williams had the others.

Darius McGhee led Liberty with 21 points and Micaiah Abii scored 19 on 7-for-7 shooting in his collegiate debut. Abii made all three 3-point attempts and trails only Seth Curry (23 points, 2008) for most points in a game by a Liberty freshman.

Purdue improved to 15-1 in season openers under coach Matt Painter. The win against a feisty Liberty squad that had defeated four Power 5 opponents in the last three seasons was perhaps a way for the Boilermakers to register a complaint at not being ranked in the AP preseason top 25 poll for the first time since the 2014-15 season.

The Space Coast Challenge concludes on Thanksgiving with Purdue facing the winner of Clemson-Mississippi State in the championship game, Liberty facing the loser in the consolation game.