Boilers Run Over Eastern Illinois, 83-55
Purdue spread the attack out tonight and ran to a 83-55 victory over the Eastern Illinois Panthers, Matt Painter’s other alma matter (he received his Master’s degree while serving as an assistant coach). Literally…ran. Tonight, Purdue was especially dedicated to pushing the ball into transition on every defensive rebound, with Ronnie Johnson and Bryson Scott usually leaking out to lead the break. RJ was making some fantastic transition decisions all night, leading to a game-high 8 assists. RJ made a concerted effort to get Kendall Stephens some kick-out three point looks, and though his cold streak continued in the first half, he finally found his mark in the second, finishing with 11 points on 3-8 from long range. Watch his off the ball motion and footwork off screens…it’s fantastic.
Another lesson, continuing from my last Swamy Spotlight…Bryson Scott has no concern for anyone’s safety as he bulldozes his way to the basket. When he has a head full of steam, he’s either getting a layup or he’s drawing a foul and there’s no middle ground. He took a hard fall mid-way through the second half on a transition drive, but bounced back right after the timeout. I love his tenacity (finishing with a game-high 14 points, going 8-10 from the line), and the freshman mistakes will be fixed in time. He really stood out tonight.
Also…AJ Hammons was in the building. His first half was fantastic, demanding the ball in the post, finding cutters for easy baskets, and filling the paint on defense. He settled down a bit in the second half, but Coach Painter limited his minutes after we had a clear lead (finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals on 3-3 shooting in 18 minutes). And Basil Smotherman…boy do I love his baseline cuts from the corner. Smotherman’s athleticism allows for some highlight plays, and the chemistry between him and RJ is drool-worthy. Ray Davis showed some hustle (not a surprise), and overall Purdue was humming on offense (minus a few terrible shot-selection issues after we had the game well in hand).
A fast start (opened 12-0) gave us a cushion for the rest of the game, as Eastern Illinois shot 33% from the field…but I’m not entirely sure that was directly because of our defense. Missed rotations and poor communication plagued our wing defenders, looking especially porous when AJ Hammons wasn’t on the floor. Simpson wasn’t a great defensive fill-in, often ending up out of position and helping hate. Bryson Scott and Terone Johnson (two normally fantastic perimeter defenders) were often left lost, giving their assignments for beautiful back-door cuts or wide-open three point looks. Thankfully, we weren’t punished for these defensive lapses, as EIU only shot 3-17 from long distance.
Rebounding position in the post was also a crucial weakness for us tonight. Though we outrebounded EIU 43-39, Hammons and Simpson simply weren’t boxing out (the hole in AJ’s game tonight). I’ll expand more on this in the Video Breakdown later this week.
As always, thanks for reading. I got a few gifts for you BS readers.
DOGS DOING THINGS
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