Haas rips out Rutgers' heart...and steals ours
Rutgers is 2-12 in the conference...and while that sounds pretty bad, the Scarlet Knights have actually looked much better this season than last, in my opinion. That said, in spite of a somewhat listless effort, the Forces of Good cruised in a Valentine's Night snoozer 74-55 in an unseasonably-quiet Mackey Arena.
Purdue flexed its muscle early in the first half by growing the lead into a 13 point deficit, before Rutgers fought a bit to shrink it down to 6-7 points for much of the remainder of the first half. Biggie didn't start it off well, and the Good Guys missed too many open threes for the second straight game, but it didn't really matter. As the game wore on, it was clear that Rutgers wouldn't be able to slow down Big Drago. It looked like an adult playing pick-up ball with kids on an eight foot hoop...too easy, at times.
Haas finished with a game high 24 points and 11 rebounds while going 9-11 from the field. He got position time and again and Purdue's guards found him. You knew it wasn't enough for just one of Purdue's bigs to have a double double...Biggie got into a bit of rhythm in the second half before finishing with 12 points, 17 rebounds and a couple assists and steals for good measure. He also cut down the turnovers in this game.
While Swanigan and Haas feasted, Purdue's guards just looked a step quicker than Rutgers' guards. Carsen Edwards only went 3-11, but had a few drives in which he beat the entire Rutgers team down court...he finished with just 9 points, but had 3 assists and 2 steals. Mathias added 9 points 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocked shots...but didn't shoot the ball particularly well either (3-7). Both of Purdue's leading backcourt scorers turned the ball over three times each. Thompson added 6 points and 4 assists.
As a team, Purdue shot under 30% from deep and hit under 62% of their free throws...but the Boilers' collective rebounding effort demoralized the league's leading rebounding team. Rutgers averages nearly 42 rebounds/game...but tonight, only pulled down 28. At the same time, the Bruising Boilers grabbed 45. After the game, Painter said the team's focus was attacking the glass while keeping Rutgers off of it...they accomplished their goal and Rutgers wasn't comfortable in the second half because of it.
At around the 10 minute mark in the second half, Purdue led by 13 points once again...then methodically pushed the lead out to 20 and nearly 30 points before the Baby Faced Assassin (Tommy Luce) and a few of his pals put it on ice.
If you missed it because you were treating your honey to a romantic dinner, you didn't miss much. Games like this are good for my heart though. I love very few things, save my wife and kids, as much as I love watching Purdue beat up on a team they're supposed to thump. Purdue pounded Rutgers like my heart pounds for J Money...
Our Boilers won their fourth straight game; their seventh win in eight tries. They'll get to attempt the rare sweep of MSU on Saturday at the greatest arena in the universe on Saturday afternoon, before pushing off for a short two-game road trip. At 21-5, Purdue is in an enviable place with just five games left before the BTT. But after two-straight games shooting the ball poorly, I'm looking for even better ball from the Good Guys. We'll see how they finish.