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“He whack-a-moled my head” Purdue's Zach Edey jokes about and-1 dunk after Sweet 16 win

Behind a dominant second half, Purdue cruised to an 80-68 win over Gonzaga, and the Boilermaker's leaders were in a playful mood after reaching the Elite Eight. 

Purdue center Zach Edey (15) celebrates a play against Gonzaga during the second half of the NCAA
Purdue center Zach Edey (15) celebrates a play against Gonzaga during the second half of the NCAA / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Sometimes 7-foot-4 is just a little too tall and that was the case on Friday night in Detroit. Zach Edey was too tall for Gonzaga, scoring 27 points in Purdue’s 80-68 win over Gonzaga, but on one instance, he was too tall for his own good. 

The Boilermakers didn’t pull away until the second half, but their superstar punctuated a close first half with an and-one dunk over Gonzaga’s Ben Gregg. Edey got past Gregg in the post and The 6-foot-10 Gonzaga forward swung for what he thought was the ball, only to connect with Edey’s head. 

The reigning National Player of the Year was no worse for the wear, playing over 38 minutes on the night and he still had the energy to joke about the incident in the postgame press conference. 

“Yeah it didn’t feel good,” Edey responded when questioned about the bizarre incident. After a Seinfeld-esque laugh track from the media in attendance, he continued, “Obviously, he was just trying to make a play on the ball. He just missed it and whack-a-moled my head a little bit.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the 300-pound center was in the middle of many physical moments down low, at one point landing on top of Gonzaga’s 180-pound Ryan Nembhard after going for a rebound. Edey’s head coach Matt Painter was later asked about how his superstar handles those altercations, and one-upped his best player, delivering the best line of the press conference. 

“Just keep your mouth shut and career a big stick,” Purdue’s head coach of 19 years said, playfully misquoting Teddy Roosevelt after qualifying for the second Regional Final of his career. “I don’t know why you have to say anything. In society, when you run your mouth, your percentage of getting your ass kicked goes up.”

Well, I’m not sure what Mark Few’s Gonzaga Bulldogs said at the start of the second half, but Purdue held up their end of that bargain, delivering a 10-0 knockout punch to extend the lead to 18 with 7:33 remaining.

That had to hurt! Zach Edey falls on top of Ryan Nembhard... no foul. dark. Next. That had to hurt! Zach Edey falls on top of Ryan Nembhard... no foul