No. 23 Purdue routs No. 25 Northwestern

When junior forward Vince Edwards rediscovered his shooting touch Wednesday night, it gave No. 23 Purdue a whole new look.

Perhaps the transformation will come in time to make a Big Ten title push.

Edwards scored 17 points and knocked down a season-high five three-pointers, leading the Boilermakers to an 80-59 rout over No. 25 Northwestern.

“I was just being confident and having fun,” Edwards said after his best game since mid-December. “I just played hard and didn’t even think about it, just playing the way I know how to play.”

If Edwards keeps having this much fun, opponents certainly won’t because of Purdue’s one-two punch. Of course, Caleb Swanigan did his customary inside work – 24 points and 16 rebounds for his 19th double-double of the season. But with Edwards & Co. shooting so well, the Wildcats never had a chance.

Purdue diced up the conference’s best three-point defense by going 9 of 14 in the first half and finishing 12 of 23. Over the last three games, the Boilermakers (18-5, 7-3) are 37 of 69 from beyond the arc (53.6 percent).

If they can keep it up, they will be tough to beat – as Northwestern (18-5, 7-3) found out.

“The three-point shooting was certainly the story of the game in the first half,” Wildcats coach Chris Collins said. “They’re a very good team and they got us tonight.”

The Wildcats’ six-game winning streak in conference play ended on a night when they were without Scottie Lindsey, their leading scorer. He stayed home because of the flu and will have some extra time to recuperate while Northwestern has an open weekend.

Without Lindsey, Northwestern wasn’t the same.

Bryant McIntosh returned to his home state and finished with 22 points but was the only Wildcats player to reach double figures.

Northwestern finished with its second-lowest scoring total of the season.

Purdue took control with a 12-0 run midway through the first half, extended the lead to 45-23 at halftime.