WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Maybe the Iowa basketball team shouldn’t have worried quite so much about Purdue’s inside muscle Wednesday night.
Because it was the Boilermakers’ perimeter snipers that really killed them.
Guards Dakota Mathias and Carsen Edwards combined to make their first seven shots from the field and led five Purdue players in double figures as the 15th-ranked Boilermakers bolted out of the blocks and romped to an 89-67 victory over the Hawkeyes in the Big Ten opener at Mackey Arena.
The Boilermakers (12-2) dominated from the very beginning. Carsen Edwards scored the first eight points of the game, including a pair of 3-point field goals, while Mathias scored 10 points in the first seven minutes, 16 in the first half.
It only took Purdue 4½ minutes to open a double-digit lead and it continued to expand the margin from there. It led by as much as 31 at one point.
Carsen Edwards led the way with 19 points with Mathias adding 17, Isaac Haas 16, Vince Edwards 15 and Caleb Swanigan 11 to go with 10 rebounds.
Swanigan and Haas, the Boilermakers’ dominating big men, did most of their damage in the second half, after the margin exceeded 20 points. Each of them had just two points in a first half that belonged to their smaller teammates.
“We knew it started with the big guys and we did a good job of limiting their touches, but they just caught fire from three,’’ Iowa guard Brady Ellingson said in a postgame radio interview.
The Boilermakers were 10 for 17 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes and by halftime had a commanding 49-25 lead.
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said his players weren’t as aware of the 3-point shooters as they needed to be. He said he thought only four of those 17 3-point attempts in the first half were contested.
Purdue coach Matt Painter said in a postgame television interview that the Hawkeyes (8-6) did a solid job of clamping down on Swanigan and Haas inside, but admitted that left his team with some openings.
“To make them adjust, you’ve got to make some shots and I thought our guys stepped up and hit some shots,’’ Painter said.
Mathias also sparkled at the defensive end of the floor, holding Big Ten scoring leader Peter Jok to only two first-half points. Jok eventually broke loose in the second half and led Iowa with 13 points, but Mathias made him work for every point.
“He’s made great improvements at the defensive end,’’ Painter said of Mathias. “Jok is a guy who makes tough shots so you can’t get discouraged, but Dakota has played great defense all year long.’’
McCaffery, however, said the Hawkeyes’ offense was “sideways’’ from the very beginning and they then began rushing shots, Jok included.
“He had a couple of open looks early but he never got going, never got comfortable,’’ McCaffery said. “Then he got a little frustrated … He’s got to understand that he has to play against physicality the rest of the year.’’
Iowa shot just 37.3 percent from the field in the game although the second half was better than the first, when it shot just 31.3 percent.
Purdue connected on 50.7 percent of its shots from the field in the game and did a good job of distributing the ball. It had 27 assists on 34 made baskets.