Junior guard Carsen Edwards looks to continue his hot start when 22nd-ranked Purdue takes on dangerous Appalachian State in the first round of the three-game, four-day Charleston (S.C.) Classic on Thursday afternoon. Edwards was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 26.5 points, connecting on nine total 3-pointers, and 3.5 assists as the Boilermakers opened with a pair of wins.
Edwards has led the way for the Purdue in scoring, but coach Matt Painter has been just as impressed with his distribution, telling reporters after an 84-75 win over Ball State on Saturday, “He’s done a good job, when two or three people start coming to the basketball, of finding the open man.” The Boilermakers had to work to get past the Cardinals after a 33-point win over Fairfield, and they will go after their third in-season tournament win in four years after taking the Hall of Fame Tip Off in 2015 and the Cancun Challenge in 2016. “As a coach you would like to get up 25-30 points and keep it that way,” Painter told reporters. “But as we all know, you’re not going to grow that way. Having games where you’re challenged and getting into close games, you find out a lot about players.” Appalachian State will pose an obstacle after taking a six-point lead with 12 minutes remaining at Alabama on Sunday before suffering an 81-73 setback.
Edwards is the only top-five scorer back for the Boilermakers after averaging 18.5 points in 2017-18, but others are stepping up while moving into bigger roles. Sophomore Matt Haarms, a 7-3 sophomore from Holland, is averaging 12.5 points, six rebounds and is 9-of-14 from the field in the first two games while Dartmouth transfer Evan Boudreaux has contributed 24 total points. Senior guard Ryan Cline, who averaged four points last season, has poured in 22 in the first two games to go along with 13 assists and a pair of steals.
The Green Bay Packers have been making fans of the home team happy this season, as they are 4-0-1 at Lambeau Field and, well, 0-4 everywhere else. The Packers look to put an end to their road woes on Thursday as they travel to the Pacific Northwest to face the Seattle Seahawks, who begin a stretch of five home games in the next seven weeks.
“I like our chances at home, but we’ve got to win some road games or we’re going to be at home in January — for good,” said Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who tossed two touchdown passes to Davante Adams in Sunday’s 31-12 romp over Miami. The two-time NFL Most Valuable Player has thrown 10 scoring strikes against zero interceptions in the last five weeks overall and has seven TD passes without getting picked off in his last two Thursday games. Seattle has answered winning four of five by dropping two hotly contested matchups versus the Los Angeles contingents. Russell Wilson tossed three touchdown passes in a 36-31 setback at the Rams on Sunday heading into his return to CenturyLink Field, where he has 13 scoring strikes against one interception in his last six games.
Affectionately known as the “other” Aaron, running back Aaron Jones is making his presence felt after rushing for 306 yards and three touchdowns in his last three games — including a career-high 145 yards with two scores on a season-high 15 carries against the Dolphins. “He’s a great player. We just need to continue to give him more opportunities,” Rodgers said of the 23-year-old Jones, who aims to exploit the Seahawks’ rush defense that has been gashed for 5.0 yards per carry this season. A promising ground attack could create more opportunities for Adams, whose 31 touchdown receptions since 2016 are tied for the most in the league.
PICKS: Taking Purdue and the Packers on Thursday let’s double up again.