WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Caleb Swanigan had 23 points and 20 rebounds, and Vince Edwards added 19 points and 11 rebounds Friday night, leading No. 15 Purdue to a 109-65 season-opening victory over McNeese State.
The Cowboys led 19-14 with 10:16 remaining in the first half when Swanigan and Edwards fueled a 22-3 run that turned a five-point deficit into a 36-22 lead.
Along with 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas, Purdue features one of the nation’s top front lines, and that was evident as the Boilermakers dominated inside, enjoying a 32-15 rebounding advantage through 20 minutes.
Haas finished with 22 points and six rebounds.
Swanigan, a sophomore, and Edwards, a junior, both declared for the NBA Draft in the spring, but after workouts with professional teams, the forwards opted to return to college for the 2016-17 season.
After one half, Purdue had 17 points and 10 rebounds from the 6-8 Swanigan, 11 points and nine rebounds from Edwards and eight points and two rebounds from Haas. The trio was 11 of 20 from the field and 13 of 17 from the free throw line in the first half.
Freshman guard Carsen Edwards scored 18 points and guard Dakota Mathias added 13 for the Boilermakers.
Richard Laku scored 16 points and James Harvey and Jamaya Burr each had 15 to lead McNeese State.
McNeese State: The Cowboys were competitive for almost 15 minutes, making 7 of 13 first-half 3-point attempts but had no answer for Swanigan, Edwards and Haas, kinds of players rarely seen in the Southland Conference.
Purdue: The Boilermakers played without three scholarship players – F/C Jacquil Taylor, F Basil Smotherman and G Ryan Cline – but had plenty of interior strength to win. Taylor underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday, and Smotherman and Cline each was suspended for Friday’s game for summer arrests involving marijuana use. Smotherman will return for Monday’s game against No. 4 Villanova.
McNeese State: The Cowboys will play host to Louisiana College on Tuesday night, hoping to use their perimeter shooting and quickness to get into the win column after facing a Big Ten opponent loaded with frontcourt strength.
Purdue: The Boilermakers will have an opportunity to open some eyes nationally on Monday night when they entertain reigning national champion and No. 4 Villanova. Purdue has never beaten a Top 5, non-conference opponent in Mackey Arena, posting an 0-5 record from the time the building opened in December 1967.