Boilers are huge, Purdue beats IUPUI 80-53
Purdue beat the IUPUI Jaguars 80-53. The spread was 21. IUPUI did not cover. Purdue hasn’t lost yet. Purdue hasn’t won by single digits yet. This team isn’t bad at the basketball.
Starters: PJ Thompson, Dakota Mathias, Vince Edwards, Caleb Swanigan, Isaac Haas
Finishers: Johnny Hill, Stephen Toyra, Grady Eifert, Ryan Cline, Jacquil Taylor
Ray Davis missed his fourth straight game with an MCL strain, and it really showed. Purdue opened the game a little sluggish, particularly on the defensive end. IUPUI took a lot of open threes following great ball movement, and their 5-out system tested Purdue’s plodding perimeter defense. We’ll get to specifics in the Good/Bad/Ugly, but outside Kendall Stephens (and Vince, at some points), recovering after a ball-reversal has to be a point of emphasis in practice.
But, despite hitting a cold streak from beyond the arc (5/13 in the first half), the Boilers weren’t afraid to take advantage of their size. Haas got the start again, and got going early. That Biggie/Haas post combo has some incredible chemistry, and Purdue exploits it to begin every game.
The rest of the team’s entry passing game, however, left a lot to be desired. A few miscommunicated passes thrown directly into the second row of the Paint Crew and the Jaguars rebounding (20-16 rebounding margin in the first half) gave IUPUI just enough second chance opportunities to keep pace with their perimeter-oriented offense. They would end the game with 13 offensive rebounds, and a mountain of curses from Aneesh’s living room.
But Purdue kept feeding the post, and methodically chipping away. It must be disheartening if you’re jIUPUI…they were playing well, had some streaky shots go in, weren’t afraid to follow pump-fakes by attacking the Purdue bigs, and were hanging with our 11th-ranked Boilers.
Aaaaaaand then AJ and Biggie and Haas and Vince and Kendall and Johnny Hill decide they’re too old for this shiiii, and put the game away. It’s so fun when I get to do postgame write ups and yada-yada-yada because our players are too good for life.
Purdue is off to a wonderful 9-0 start to a season with massive internal expectations, and is yet to win a game by less than 12 points. More than anything, this team refuses to let underdogs feel for even a second like they have a fighting chance, throwing brute force (Haas), strength (Biggie), versatility (Vince) and unstoppable polish and finesse (AJ) at stunned jabronis until they curl into a ball and beg for the game to be over.
This team does its damage like a sledgehammer: solid, steady, and relentless. They’re depth makes individual cold-streaks irrelevant, and their genuine joy while playing with each other in Mackey Arena is infectious. This team is special, and we won’t see anything like it for a while. Don’t you dare take em for granted.
Player of the Game:
Caleb Swanigan. Weird pick, especially considering he seemed to have another fairly rough offensive game (particularly in the first half). Then you look down and realize Biggie went 3/5 from the field, got to the line three times (4-4), snagged 14 rebounds and dished out 4 assists.
- This team’s unselfishness. I love them, they love them, everyone loves everyone, life is perfect.
- Kendall’s defense was incredible tonight. The Kid tallied 4 steals and 2 blocks, and defensive intensity to a point that I’ve never seen from him. Really, it’s not like he ever lacked the IQ (despite what some of you might have thought)…it was just the lackluster effort that killed him most of the time. But during the Ray-less stretch, it’s Kendall that has Purdue’s best perimeter defender. Oh yeah…he also had 13 points on 4/7 shooting, and the 3 threes he hit all came at momentum-defining points in the game. I tolja The Kid was gonna have a breakout year.
- Watching Biggie crash the defensive glass is a joy and a privilege and I can’t imagine if he would have gone to Cal or MSU. And his hair is perfect.
- Pretty much my takeaway after the Pitt game:
- Despite some entry pass struggles, Purdue came up with some creative ways to get the ball in to the post against help defense. In one instance, Kendall faked a pass inside, reversed the ball to a perimeter player running off a screen, got the defense scrambling, and hit AJ for the easy bucket. It’s these simple actions that can beat a defense that’s essentially triple-teaming Purdue’s center, and it’s starting to become second-nature to the good guys.
- AJ’s post moves have become so fluid, executed without hesitation and with perfect balance. He’s so good, and he comes off Purdue’s bench. Hambone didn’t miss a shot or a free throw on the way to 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Typical ho-hum game from the best big man in the Big Ten.
- We finally got glimpses of Aggressive Vince! Driving into crowded lanes because he knew nobody could stop him, going coast-to-coast after grabbing a defensive rebound, rising up and THROWING DOWN THE THUNDER OH MAN VINCEGASM.
- 3 games in 5 days is the worst. Even if they’re all at home, it’s an intense strain to put on the team. And it might be a wise move for Coach Painter to sit Ray out during this stretch…Purdue’s depth more than covers for his raw production, and rushing him back during a 5-games-in-10-days stretch could be disastrous. I hope Davis comes back for the Youngstown State game, just so that he gets a tune-up before that brutal Butler/Vandy/@Wisconsin stretch.
- Dakota Mathias has incredible basketball instincts, but man was he struggling tonight. A couple of unforced turnovers, bad entry passes, bricked shots (would finish 1-7), and his defense today left a lot to be desired. He’s going through a Stephens-like sophomore slump…thankfully, Purdue has a few alternatives while Mathias works through these normal struggles.
- I should have kept count, but I’m sure Purdue got outrebounded before garbage time. The final rebounding margin was 38-32 in favor of the Boilers, but it looked like IUPUI grabbing every rebound that Biggie missed. Haas only finished with 2 rebounds and Hammons grabbed 4, but it just seemed like everyone in black and gold was crashing on the wrong side of the glass. I think this is more randomness than anything, but I’ll bet anything Coach Painter brings up rebounding during film session tomorrow.
- Entry passes reverted back to 2012 form for stretches of the game tonight. Feeding the post over fronting defenders led to a lot of poorly placed lobs, which Purdue has been great at during other games this season. Again, this is something I expect to revert to the mean a little bit, but it was still a little rough on the eyes.
- Purdue pushing the pace after every defensive rebound. This isn’t ugly, not at all…it’s more just generally weird. With Purdue’s massive size, and lack-of-speed defensively, you’d expect the offensive pace to be a little glacial. But Purdue, with their dozen centers and everything, absolutely loves to work their semi-transition game. Vince led a particularly beautiful break that led to a layup, and Biggie led another weirdly gorgeous set after a long rebound. It also gives Purdue a few extra seconds to work their haflcourt offense, which is especially great when it’s a post-oriented system in the 30 second shot clock era. Definitely not a thing I would have expected from a Painter-coached team.
Moving Picture Thingy of the Night:
Honorable mention to the Isaac Haas alley-oop that registered a 4 on the Richter Scale, but Johnny Octe-uuh, Johnny Hill’s block takes the cake.
Tweet of the Night:
Feature image from @Boilerball