Purdue beats NW Ohio, Fans Can Pretend Football Is Over
Purdue won! The Boilers beat Northwestern Ohio 92-43 in their opening preseason game in Mackey Arena. That’s such a refreshing sentence to type in a postgame report. Thank God basketball season is back.
Before we dive into what little we could glean from the only preseason game of the year, allow me to make my annual complaint about BTN Plus. The announcers were both students, Tommy Barrett and Connor Hoke, and honestly they weren’t bad. And BTN Plus streaming worked pretty well (unlike last year, when the stream was saddled with a ton of glitches), and it helps that BTN’s online streaming interface is much, much nicer than ESPN’s. But…I had to pay $10 to watch this game. $10 isn’t much, and I’ll pay it because I’m a sucker…but come on. I already have a cable subscription (which is a lot more than my cord-cutting friends can say) and a good percentage of that goes towards BTN and the entire cable sports package. Charging me an additional fee to see my Boilers play basketball because I’m sick of watching the garbage they present to me on the football field is the worst. I would be tripping over myself to praise BTN’s great job on the game today (having decent announcers in the building, having a stream that works, having a rewind and fast forward option), but the extra fee is the worst. You’re the worst as always, BTN.
ALRIGHT THAT’S ENOUGH LET’S TALK BASKETBALL AND VINCE EDWARDS.
- Paul Sadler is really good at his job.
- Caleb Swanigan (12 points on 4/7 shooting, 11 rebounds, 4 assists in 25 minutes…almost exactly what I predicted from him) is super fun to watch. He attacks rebounds with next-level viciousness, and his slimmed-down physique seems to make it easier for him to move around the floor. Take a look at the GIF below…he’s definitely got a ways to go to get his conditioning up to a professional level, but he does a great job of getting to the right spot and creating easy passing lanes for his teammates. His passing from the high-post is pretty incredible as well, and Purdue seemed to play almost exclusively through him (and the post) all night.
- …And the guy who collected most of those passes was Isaac Haas, who played starters minutes in place of Hammons. Offensively, Haas was brilliant today (18 points on 7/11 shooting, 4-4 from the line, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 blocks). He was super comfortable bodying up against UNOH’s 6’7” center, and never hesitated with the ball in the post. Even Haas’ post passing looked fantastic, as he collected 3 assists (after tallying only 9 all year).
- Some of the threes weren’t going down, but the ball movement was absolutely beautiful. That’s all you can really ask during a preseason game…just go out there at look like you’re running a system that works. And, suffice it to say, this offensive system could be pretty powerful.
- With all of the attention rightfully on Biggie and Haas…the star of the game was Vince Edwards. I’ll write thousands of words on him all season, so all I’ll say right now is that he’s an incredible angel and might really be the best player on this talented team. He finished with 18 points on 6/9 shooting, perfect 4/4 from the line, 2 rebounds and 1 block, assist, and steal each. He definitely had a few sloppy plays handling the ball, and should be much sharper when the games matter…but even his mistakes turn into plays like this because he's perfect:
- Kendall Stephens (13 points in 18 minutes) could really be headed for a breakout year, despite only shooting 3/10 from beyond the arc. Imagine if he hits two more of those a game…could 17 points in 18 minutes of gameplay be unreasonable? Oh lord I’m excited for this year.
- This isn’t necessarily a good, but it wasn’t bad so it’s on here: the point guard play should be fine. Johnny Hill got the start, and didn’t stop moving the ball. Hill looked pretty comfortable, but was fairly invisible for a lot of the game. Defensively, Hill was fairly good (3 steals), but nothing game-changing. Very solid all-around. PJ Thompson came off the bench, but looked to have a much better handle of the offense by my estimation. He’s also a better shooter, and that might be the difference when Painter divides up playing time.
- Jacquil Taylor looks like he’s added 15 pounds of muscle, and should be a great energy guy off the bench. #musclewatch
- AJ Hammons didn’t play today. It comes after he didn’t play in the Dayton secret scrimmage, and all Coach Painter will say about it is that AJ “has to take care of his business” before he gets onto the court. That’s not great, especially after I spent an entire summer railing against anyone who had questions about AJ’s commitment level. There’s no reason to expect this to last into the season, but you never know. My worried scale moved from a 1 to a 2 out of 10.
- Perimeter defense was actually pretty lackluster in the first half, aside from a few predictable Ray Davis lockdown moments. They sharpened up in the second half, but UNOH hung around a lot longer than they should have because of some space beyond the arc. This could be due to Hammons not playing, meaning that the perimeter defenders couldn’t be as aggressive without an ace rim protector having their backs.
- This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the 5 minutes of game time today might be the last time we’ll see Grant Weatherford this year.
- Despite his 4 blocks, Haas’ lateral movement on post defense is still pretty clumsy. I thought he was just bigger than everyone, but some of his fundamentals (squaring up to the ball-handler, footwork) are still pretty bad. It helps that he’s a Ford F-450 though.
- Biggie’s free throw. Oh boy, will he never hear the end of this one.
- Haas was absolutely gassed by the end of the night, after playing only 22 minutes against…well, let’s just say not the cream of the basketball crop. Not a great sign if he was asked to play starter’s minutes, but thankfully Purdue should have another pretty decent option at center (if he ever gets out of Painter’s dog house).
- 9/29 shooting from beyond the arc isn’t great, but most of the looks Purdue got were fine (aside from a few reckless shots from Ryan Cline and Kendall Stephens).
- Ray Davis has a much better looking shot (very little wasted motion), but the rest of his offensive game is still pretty ugly. Except for…well…you’ll see down below.
- Ryan Cline went scoreless (0/6 shooting, all threes) but grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 4 assists. His shooting was off, but he looked really comfortable in the system and displayed a lot of really good instincts on both ends of the floor. This kid really might be too good to redshirt.
GIF OF THE NIGHT
Be excited, guys. We’ve got a great season at our doorsteps. It’s great to have basketball back.
Feature Image from @BoilerBall.