@SamfordMBB on X

Purdue big man Zach Edey was one of the most unstoppable forces in college basketball last season and the reigning national player of the year is back for more in 2023-24. Edey's return was certainly bad news for Samford, the No. 3 Boilermakers' opponent in the season-opener for both teams Monday. 

Leading up to the game, Bulldogs coach Bucky McMillan appeared to have some fun with his team's significant height disadvantage vs. Purdue and the 7-foot-4 Edey by posting videos the last few days of Samford 5-8 guard Dallas Graziani preparing to face Edey for the opening tipoff.

"Young Dallas Graziani versus big Zach Edey going down Monday," McMillan said in a video released by the school. "He's come a long way in a short time." 

Indeed, Edey towered over Graziani, who didn't even jump, and won the tipoff easily to get the season started.  

Purdue ended last season with a loss to No. 16 seeded Fairleigh Dickinson to become only the second No. 1 seed to lose in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Boilermakers return their entire starting five from last season, as the program looks to get back to their first Final Four since 1980. 

The defending Big Ten champions got off to a hot start to the season with a 98-45 win over Samford. Edey finished the night with his 40th career double-double, scoring a game-high 16 points on an efficient 5 of 6 shooting and added 11 rebounds and four blocks in just 20 minutes of action. Purdue out-rebounded the Bulldogs 54-33 and had 10 blocks. 

Graziani finished with four points for Samford vs. the Boilermakers, who face Morehead State next on Friday.