Time For The Boilers To Stand Up
On the heels of a large Thanksgiving dinner that clearly flowed over into breakfast, Purdue lost an unusual morning tip-off game to Washington State. Wassu was 2-3 coming into this one...they got beaten by Butler down the stretch last night and really didn't have a whole bunch going for them. Purdue seemed to have a little momentum after charging back in the second half out of a self-created hole versus an unlikable Okie State squad.
Defensively, Purdue played well in the first half, but didn't shoot particularly well...in the second half, the defense wasn't good while the offense was atrocious. In fact, Purdue lost the second half 52-27...almost the exact same score of the first half of the OK St. game.
I'm all for giving a team time to grow up and get better, but Purdue really didn't belong losing this game. They looked extremely disinterested as a team...and even Painter looked that way during a late second half team.
TJohn had 16 points, Scott had 13, RonJohn had 10...Hammons had 11 rebs and 4 blocks...good stuff. But the team had a general malaise over it that was palpable. Offensively, Purdue looked almost exactly like the Purdue team from '12-'13...YIKES!
Now, oblige me as I paint with a broad brush for a moment.
I gotta tell you, I think that the way Painter handled Jay Simpson's ejection yesterday was horrendous. Simpson made a mistake by responding to the taunting (that should have been teched up) from an Oklahoma State player. But, instead of adopting a bunker mentality, Matty thought it'd be best to verbally beat up his own guy for actually showing some emotion. Was Simpson right? No...but he wasn't as wrong as Painter made it seem (nor was his response worthy of being tossed).
Since our Boilers are not going to be the most-talented team on the court (most of the time during the B1G schedule), Purdue will need guts and grit...but instead of fighting along side his players and instilling confidence that they're in it together, Painter seems to think that getting after them is the best way to help the team grow. Thats true, to a point. I've always liked Painter, but that act has grown tiresome for me.
There's the problem right now, at least to me, with this program.
Purdue hasn't looked truly tough since Kramer played for the team. For a few seasons, this team has been bullied by bigger, better and meaner teams. How many times in the last few years have we watched as Purdue has allowed another team to dictate the pace and physicality of the game? Where's the fight? Where's the scrappiness?
Bryson Scott shows some of it, but it really shouldn't come down to just one guy. Purdue has a problem now that its leadership- its coaches and captains don't seem willing to bleed for one another. Sure, teams like Oklahoma State have a talent edge, but they were mentally MUCH stronger than Purdue yesterday. Their coach fought for them with the refs, and the team all seemed to be focused on pissing Purdue's players off in every possible way all while humiliating them, at least for much of the game, on the court.
Will Purdue regain an identity of toughness this season? It better...and it better do it fast because losing today's game was really important in the grand scheme of things. Purdue needs every win it can muster because all of a sudden, the B1G has six ranked teams and our Boilers are losing ground.
Purdue plays a sub-.500 team in BC in five days, before facing a 5-1 EMU team and an undefeated Butler squad. This is a critical juncture for this team as they can't afford to drop either of the next two games...and they need to beat Butler for a myriad of reasons.
Today was tough to watch as it was eerily-similar to so many games last season; if it becomes more than an isolated event, the NIT will be a a pipedream at the end of this season.