The college basketball world is well aware at this point — no one is going to slow down Purdue big man Zach Edey when the Boilermakers have the ball.
Sure, there are ways to limit his impact. But as his 22.4 points per game and 63 percent conversion rate from the field illustrate, Edey is going to produce. And in large part due to Edey, Purdue has the most efficient offense in the country.
So if you want to beat Purdue, you had better score on the other end.
Indiana’s combination of Jalen Hood-Schifino and Trayce Jackson-Davis might just be what a team needs to produce against a Purdue defense that had held teams under 70 points for 24-straight games prior to Saturday.
Hood-Schifino’s size and ability to turn the corner, and Jackson-Davis’ elite athleticism made outsized impacts against the Purdue giant.
JACKSON-DAVIS RUNNING THE FLOOR
On Saturday, Jackson-Davis was sprinting to the other end at the first sign of a transition opportunity.
He beat Edey down the court on multiple occasions, including this break that came after an Edey turnover.
Edey stumbled a bit after losing his dribble, and that’s all TJD needed to see to take off. Edey couldn’t catch him, and neither could anyone else. He started his sprint with only two of the ten players on the court behind him, but he finished a dunk before anyone from Purdue could get in his way after Hood-Schifino delivered a perfect bounce pass.
JACKSON-DAVIS READING DOUBLES
Purdue head coach Matt Painter said it after the game — Jackson-Davis has improved considerably over the last four years when it comes to reading double teams.
Here Jackson-Davis catches the ball in the mid-post, and that draws an immediate double from Malik Reneau’s man. Reneau was on the opposite block, and IU now has a 3-on-2 on the opposite side of the floor. Reneau does a very nice job engaging Fletcher Loyer in the post, which occupies him and creates more passing angles. Jackson-Davis likely could have fed the post here.
But with Purdue’s Braden Smith on Trey Galloway, that leaves Miller Kopp wide open. Edey is out of the game at this point, which makes it easier for Jackson-Davis to both see over the double team and throw over it. TJD fires a one-handed jump pass laser to Kopp, and with so much ground to cover, Smith goes for a shot fake. Kopp let’s him fly by and drains the three.
Here Purdue doubles from the strong side, as Brandon Newman dropped off Galloway and onto Jackson-Davis. Likely because they’ve seen TJD kick this back out to the wing for a three many times, Smith scrambles aggressively to Galloway, leaving his man Tamar Bates wide open. Jackson-Davis reads that, splits the double, and gets the ball to a wide open Bates. Loyer then scrambles to Bates, leaving Kaleb Banks, who wisely cut to the rim, wide open for a dunk.
Jackson-Davis’ ability as a ball handler and some nifty footwork set up this highlight reel play.
TJD caught the ball on the low block and was immediately doubled. With no one else on his side of the floor, he dribbled out to the wing with his right hand. It isn’t clear if Purdue’s Mason Gillis made a mistake here or if this was part of the IU scout, but Gillis left the double after Jackson-Davis got out to the perimeter. You can see him leaving the double here, but Gillis really had no one else he could guard at this point, so he dropped back into the paint.
Recognizing the one-on-one against a younger and inexperienced Trey Kaufman-Renn, Jackson-Davis drove baseline, spun back towards the middle, and then back to his left hand — all before Gillis realized what was happening — and delivered a monster left-handed dunk.
PULLING EDEY OUT OF THE PAINT
IU ran several high ball screen pick-and-roll actions to pull Edey out of the paint.
This is where Hood-Schifino’s ability to turn the corner is so valuable, as he is able to draw Edey’s attention. Then Jackson-Davis’ quickness and elite ability on the lob compounds the challenge for Purdue.
On multiple occasions the set up looked like the following two screenshots, where IU had an overload on one side, and Kopp alone on the other. This put’s Kopp’s man in a bind. Either he tries to slow TJD’s dive to the rim, thereby leaving Kopp alone, or he allows Jackson-Davis to get behind the defense.
Here Hood-Schifino correctly reads Jackson-Davis has a clean run to the rim and throws the lob for an alley-oop dunk.
Here you can see Ethan Morton trying to recover to the spot where he thought Kopp was. That was after he took an extra step into the lane to slow Jackson-Davis just a bit which helped Edey. But a nifty relocation towards the baseline gave Kopp a rare open three which he made. Hood-Schifino’s ability to read the defense on the move and deliver good passes makes it all work.
GOING RIGHT THROUGH HIM
With the game on the line, Hood-Schifino took another path towards Edey — right at him.
The scout on shot blockers is that you typically must go into them or around them rather than try to shoot over the top. That’s especially true with Edey, who has the length to deny just about anything attempted over him, but isn’t quick or athletic enough to react to contact or blow by drives.
Hood-Schifino drove right at Edey and created the contact. At first contact Edey was at the top of the restricted arc, but when he landed he had been bumped out to the outer edge of that arc. Hood-Schifino bounced off Edey and made a layup going the other way. The execution by the freshman point guard started with his use of a Race Thompson screen, and ability to get a step on his man. And then his technique vs. Edey made the shot impossible to block.
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