Canada’s Zach Edey leads Purdue to Elite Eight with 27 points in win over Gonzaga

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DETROIT — Purdue big man Zach Edey withstood all the abuse Gonzaga could lay on him Friday night, finishing with 27 points and 14 rebounds to lift the Boilermakers to an 80-68 victory and move them one win from the Final Four.

Gonzaga leaned on, swatted and grabbed at the seven-foot-four centre — even slapped him across the forehead at one point — but it wasn’t enough to stop either him or his top-seeded team.

On Sunday, Purdue, which last year became history’s second first-round loser as a No. 1 seed, will play the winner of Friday’s later game between Tennessee and Creighton in the Midwest Region. A win there would land the program in the Final Four for the first time since 1980.

Braden Smith had 14 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds for the Boilermakers, though this game, like most of them for Purdue (32-4), came down to the other team’s inability to hold down the nation’s leading scorer.

Fifth-seeded Gonzaga (27-8) gave it a go for 30 minutes, but foul trouble and an ever-shrining basket ended its hopes.

Graham Ike had 18 points and 10 rebounds for coach Mark Few’s Bulldogs, who shot only 38 per cent over the first 15 minutes of the second half and fell to 0-3 vs. Edey and the Boilermakers over the past two seasons. Like all the Gonzaga big men, Ike spent the evening in foul trouble; he got his fifth and trudged off the court for good with 5:07 left.

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