Boilers run out of steam, fall at OSU 67-49
The Boilermakers missed on another chance to grab a statement win as OSU took charge late in the second half to notch a 67-49 victory over the good guys. My loosely-organized thoughts (and GIFS, of course) are after the break:
Both Purdue and OSU started this game with some early turnovers and generally sloppy play, but the Boilers were determined to play through AJ Hammons and found some success. But when Coach Painter gave AJ an early breather (perhaps due to his 46 minutes played against Minnesota on Wednesday), OSU took advantage and attacked the paint to spur a 10-0 run. Hammons came back in, but Purdue couldn’t buy a bucket, opening the game shooting 5-20 from the field. Luckily for Purdue, a few Kid Stephens threes combined with the Buckeyes poor shooting kept it close. Purdue went in to halftime down 31-25, seemingly one run away from grabbing control of the game.
The second half started like the first for Purdue, who made a concerted effort to get Hammons going early again. Post hooks, putbacks, face up jumpers…Hammons was displaying a full offensive arsenal at times (11 points on 5-10 shooting, to go with 7 rebounds as 3 blocks; more on AJ below). Ray Davis also injected some energy into our wing lineup, and Purdue chipped away at OSU’s lead. But the Buckeyes were matching the Boilers possession-by-possession, aided by a few awful Purdue rotations and perimeter close-outs. Terone Johnson made a momentum-filled three with 9 minutes left to reduce the deficit to 3. Purdue was in striking distance. Then…this happened:
That was a flop by Aaron Craft, but four years of watching that rosy-cheeked menace says you can’t expect anything else. But what really killed Purdue were two backbreaking threes from Lenzelle Smith, along with some dead-end offensive sets and turnovers. Those Smith threes, a missed RJ floater, blocked TJ layup, OSU transition dunk, RJ turnover, and a too-easy Craft layup fueled a 12-2 OSU run, and ended all hopes at stealing a very quality win for the Boilermakers. That five minute stretch of terrible (from the 9 to 4 minute marks in the second half) sealed the loss.
- I’m no expert, but I think you have to break 50 points if you want to win a Big Ten basketball game. Just sayin.
- Rapheal Davis was Purdue’s player of the game, finishing with 11 points on perfect 5-5 shooting from the field and a surplus of energy. Check that gif at the bottom of this post. He’s a fantastic shooter when he pulls up with confidence. Ray D has shown that corner-3 ability in the past, but needs to be having a good game before he attacks. I like aggressive Ray D, and want more.
- Purdue is so much better when we play through AJ Hammons rather than through our ball handlers, but he needs to limit his turnovers to have a completely positive effect on the game. Looking at the gif below, you can tell AJ is fantastic when he instantly deploys his post move. When he brings the ball low, takes an extra dribble, or pump fakes/hesitates before going up, he exposes the ball for aggressive defenders to swipe and disrupt his movement. AJ was responsible for 5 turnovers tonight. That’s unacceptable, and easily avoidable.
- Kid Stephens can shoot, and does so with no conscience. His shot selection could use some improvement, but 12 points on 3 three pointers and a beautiful baseline drive and-one forgives some of that. Purdue desperately needs someone to space the floor to give Hammons room to work inside, and The Kid gave that spark tonight. He also was pretty atrocious defensively and got a Painter death glare after launching an absurd turnaround baseline fadeaway. But he did enough to get his own bullet point.
- Errick Peck took Basil Smotherman’s starting spot, and for the first time Coach Painter trusted both graduate transfers to start the game. Peck and Sterling Carter have been great over the last few games, but unfortunately the hot streak ended for Carter. He finished with 0 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, and 1 turnover in a weak 12 minutes of play. Peck was better, grabbing 8 rebounds to go with 4 points in a decent offensive performance. Defensively, however…let’s just say it was a rough day when Peck and Jay Simpson were our post defenders. Peck isn’t tall enough to be a true post defender, but that doesn’t absolve him from staying engaged and not losing his man around the perimeter (which happened on multiple occasions tonight).
- Jay Simpson was his usual frustrating defensive self, moving laterally with the grace of a moose. (Side note: I have no idea whether moose typically have great lateral dexterity. Has anyone collected this information at some kind of moose scouting camp? Would a moose make a good post defender? Would the moose make for a better backup center option for Painter? What is happening to this recap right now?). It baffles me that Simpson can be so fluid offensively in the post (though he wasn’t tonight) but be so slow on the defensive end.
- I thought Bryson Scott was in for another super aggravating performance after forcing a few bull-headed drives while wearing some sort of anti-passing blinders:
— Aneesh Ramaswamy (@aneeshswamy) February 8, 2014
But Scott started to make up some ground defensively, doing a great job keeping Aaron Craft on his toes during his 15 minutes of playing time. Scott picked up his offensive efforts as well, with a few nice drive-and-dish moves that we views fell in love with early in the season. He still has no confidence in his jumper, and that gives the defense incentive to give up a shooting cushion to prepare for his eventual drive. Conference play has exacerbated his weakness, but once Bryson develops a reliable jumper and steadies his decision making skills he’ll be a really valuable backup ball handler.
- The Johnson brothers weren’t great today. Terone was cold as ice from the field, putting up an o-fer in the first half and finishing with 3 points on 1-8 shooting. His inefficiency is unbelievably maddening, as are his careless turnovers, but at times he is the only Boilermaker diving for loose balls or sacrificing his body for the team. As I said Wednesday, I could write a book about my conflicted feelings towards TJ. Ronnie was a little better (6pts/3asts/1rb on 3-7 FGs), with a few highlights to supplement his uninspired play. At his best, RJ is a blur…zooming past slow post defenders after patiently waiting for a high screen, or a passing machine in transition (check the GIF of his past to Peck below). At his worst, RJ launches long jumpers and plays extremely passive defense against dangerous point guards. Today, he was somewhere in the middle. Very bland, with one particularly bad sequence where he didn’t run back on defense as his teammates crashed the offensive glass, leading to an easy OSU layup.
Not a great effort to finish the game by the Boilers. This loss wraps a three-game week (Purdue went 1-2), and our guys get a week off to prepare for the big one: hosting Indiana on Saturday, February 15. It goes without saying that a victory would ease a lot of frustrations...let’s see if anyone decides to step up and lead this week.
Ray Davis is everything:
RayD corner three, with a nice hockey assist by AJ:
JUMP HOOK 'EM TO DEATH, AJ:
RJ has some passing abilities: