Boilers Keep Rolling, 60-58
Oh man, I might need some of Neesh’s peptowhiskey after that one. I find myself saying “They can’t do anything the easy way,” but maybe that’s not entirely fair. After all, beating a good OSU team and your third consecutive ranked opponent isn’t supposed to be easy, particularly for a team that went 8-5 in the pre-con and looked pretty flawed. But man, doesn’t that feel like a long time ago now? The Boilers came out – in their goldies again – and won yet again. We may not see the white homers for a while at this rate. Purdue held down another team, keeping the Bucknuts under 60 for only the second time this season (the other was vs Louisville).
Worth noting is that Marc Loving didn’t even make the trip to West Lafayette today, as Thad Matta said he hadn’t earned the right to wear the OSU colors. I haven’t heard any more details on what Loving may have done to kicked off Buckeye Island, but if he’s a good dude in any way, he’ll feel pretty sh-tty about his team going to Mackey and losing by a bucket without him.
At various times during the second half, I found myself wanting to attribute this win to a great performance we were witnessing, but it was hard to choose which guy was making it all happen. That, my friends, is what it feels like when you’re watching a team do team-like things.
The three-headed monster tonight was as follows…
AJ was like a slot machine, churning out a 7-7-7 line (Pts-Rebs-Blks), plus he had two assists and two steals to go with his payout. What I didn’t love about AJ’s night was him only having three FG attempts (he drained all three) and only two free throws (he made one). Sure, it all worked out, but Purdue only scored 60 points and not feeding the Hammonster more had something to do with it.
Jon Octeus had himself another of his efficient, senior-like games, where you know he’s playing well and you’re happy he’s there but you’re somehow lulled into actually coming to expect these solid games from him. And how dare we expect it? Jonny O had 14 points, was 6/7 from the line, and grabbed seven boards. Only one assist was on the ledger for him but Jon took good care of the ball and again reminded us that we’re going to miss his steady hand next season.
RayDay continues to take ownership of this team. He had another 20 point game on 60% shooting from the field (6/10) and 80% (8/10) from the line. He also fouled out but hey, nobody’s perfect. He’s averaging 10.8 PPG this season, but his last four games are 24-19-15-20. He also had six rebounds and an uncharacteristic six turnovers (of Purdue’s 13 to OSU’s 12).
Matt Painter is into his comfortable rotation right now, but the fun part is that nine guys are getting minutes. The starters played between 26 and 38 minutes, with Mathias being the 26 in that equation. Dakota had two of the Boilers’ three made triples (Stephens had the other) and was out there in crunch time. He’s shown remarkable progress this season and is only a freshman.
Ike Haas played only eight minutes but had five rebounds in that time to go with his two points (0/3 from the field, ick) and a block.
Bryson Scott is apparently kept in a “In case of game against IU, break glass” case and is securely back in there.
What was ugly…
Well, both teams shot pretty mediocrely, at 42% from the field. Good defense or icy cold shooting? OSU was under 27% from three while Purdue was 25%. Yikes.
Purdue had a FT advantage of 27-9 and made their tosses at a 70% clip to OSU’s 67%. But when was the last time you remember Purdue being on the favorable end of a lopsided foul shooting differential like that? Was Thad off his game? Was Matty back to being an evil genius? So many questions.
Miscellaneous other thoughts…
Does Purdue get some votes? Could this team we had almost written off (and by “we,” I mean Aneesh and Michael) in December wind up being ranked at some point this season?
BTN reminded us tonight of the new Big Ten Tourney structure and how if you’re a top four seed, you get to hang out until Friday with the double-bye. So this one is even bigger.
This was a critical stretch, to be sure, but these upcoming winnable games are just as critical. You have to hold serve at home and then hope to pick off some winnable road games… and the next two – at Minn and at Rutgers – are both very winnable. You nab those and win those home games and you’re truly in bidness. And after those two roadies, Purdue comes home to face Nebraska on Feb 15.
That GD Illinois game really looms large for me now. I know it’s dumb for me to continue to let it stick in my craw, but that one was in the Boilers’ grasp and Illinois is not that good. I know, it was a road game so it’s not inexcusable, but when you have a couple bad losses on your sheet, you need some extra decent wins. With it, the Boilers are 8-2 and a shade behind Wisconsin.
Tweets of the Evening
— Chris Forman (@ChrisForman12) February 5, 2015
Except for Steratore. That idiot sucks no matter what. RT @BoiledSports: Everything's better with Basil.
— Lance (@LancerUWM) February 5, 2015
@BoiledSports Buying a gold suit for work immediately!
— Codie Ross (@CodieRoss) February 5, 2015