Purdue retires Zach Edey's jersey after he leads No. 3 Boilermakers past Wisconsin in home finale

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Zach Edey had a banner day.

The 7-foot-4 Purdue senior withstood a physical onslaught from Wisconsin in his home finale, persevered and received a surprise reward: seeing his jersey number, 15, added to the Mackey Arena rafters.

Edey played through an injured left leg, finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds, became the first Big Ten player with 2,200 points and 1,200 rebounds and led No. 3 Purdue past Wisconsin 78-70 on Sunday. And then the Boilermakers surprised him by retiring his jersey.

“It's real cool. I had all my friends here from Toronto for like the first time,” Edey said before addressing the emotions of the day. “It's my last game in Mackey.”

And there was plenty to celebrate for Edey and Purdue (28-3, 17-3), winners of five straight.

Afterward, Edey stood arm in arm with his mother before addressing the crowd.

Before the game, coach Matt Painter presented point guard Braden Smith with a ceremonial ball for breaking Purdue's single-season assists record, which stood for nearly 50 years. Moments later, Purdue’s pep band played “O Canada” as a Senior Day tribute to Edey, who’s from Toronto.

“I’ve been trying to get them to do that for four years,” Edey joked.

Edey needed less than five minutes to grab the three rebounds needed to reach 1,200. It took a little longer for the Boilermakers' six-player senior class to match Indiana's record for conference wins, 59, over a four-year period. Indiana did it from 1972-76.

Fletcher Loyer added 15 points and Smith added 10 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Boilermakers, who won a second consecutive Big Ten title by at least three games.

John Blackwell scored 18 points for the Badgers (19-12, 11-9). Tyler Wahl had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and AJ Storr also scored 17.

“I thought we did a lot of good things offensively,” Badgers coach Greg Gard said. “That’s a tough team. I would say you can’t get a consistent diet of things in the paint just because of his presence.”

Purdue certainly tried to fight off Edey near the basket, fouling him 11 times. And it looked like Edey's presence might be short-lived when he limped gingerly to the bench with an apparent left leg injury and Purdue leading 17-9. He finished the half on the bench because of foul trouble.

And after Loyer's four-point play helped stake Purdue to a 40-26 lead, Smith appeared to hurt his right ankle on a non-contact play. He went to the locker room but returned 75 seconds later as the Boilermakers made it 44-33 at the half.

Edey and Loyer remained on the floor without apparent difficulty in the second half as the Badgers twice cut the deficit to four. But the Boilermakers answered with 3-pointers each time, first by Smith and then by Caleb Furst.

“You can tell he loves the game, you can tell he respects the game," forward Mason Gillis said when asked about Edey. “The people around know what he does. He looks out for everybody. He's a good guy in the gym. I don't think we could ask for a better national player of the year.”

BIG PICTURE

Wisconsin: The Badgers head into this week’s Big Ten Tournament as the league’s mystery team. They were ranked most of the season and climbed into the top 10 before losing four straight. They’ve now lost eight of 11.

Purdue: It’s time for the Boilermakers to focus on unfinished business following last year’s stunning first-round NCAA Tournament exit. Sure, there’s a conference tourney still ahead and the possibility of reclaiming the No. 1 ranking. But Painter’s squad had one major goal this season — and that quest begins next week.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Boilermakers are all but certain to extend the longest active streak of weeks ranked in the top five to 35.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin: Awaits its opening Big Ten tournament game.

Purdue: Heads to Minneapolis with the Big Ten’s No. 1 seed, a double bye and a Friday quarterfinal game.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball