With Vandy, MSU, Kentucky, Georgetown and others all suffering upset losses yesterday, Matty's squad seemed to be especially-ready to play for a high-noon tip-off versus the Hawkeyes. So tell me if you've heard this one:
Purdue's opponent looked sloppy, out of control, confused and out-manned in the opening minutes on Keady Court. It's something Purdue fans have become accustomed to, especially in the last few seasons. But, if I was to tell you that JJ and Smooge would be quiet offensively during that period, you'd probably think Purdue might be leading 18-16 at the half...but that wasn't the case.
As Purdue's All-America and Naismith Award candidates weren't on their game, Kelsey Barlow, Ryne Smith and LewJack were picking them up. Jackson drove and dished and finished when he had to, Barlow got hot for a spell and used his length and athleticism to score over smaller guards and, of course, Ryno made it rain like it was March in Portland.
I think we can officially say, Purdue has found its third scorer. I joked with J that Moore and Johnson decided to have these cold spells just to make #24 show the world what he does in practice. But in reality, Smith, Jackson and others are merely doing what they're capable of doing because they understand that it's a must if they are to become the team that many, including Matty, think they can become.
In the 75-52 victory, Purdue did what Matty likes to see and then some. They held their opponent under 59 points, they did much better from the free throw line than the last few games (shot 77%), a lot of guys got involved in the offense (4 in double figures, 8 scored points) and they won the rebounding battle yet again (35-28).
Moore had 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. But, he only shot 33% from the field and struggled versus the trap that Coach Fran threw at him. But, he also exploited it after he got used to it. I'm sure he's looking forward to playing a team that plays man-to-man, but many teams may start asking which way they want to die- at the hands of Cool Hand Smooge or the Ryno "The Silencer" Smith. Regardless of which defense teams play, and Iowa played at least 5 types, Purdue seems to have an offensive answer right now.
Smith was the leading scorer for the second-straight game. He finished with 18 points, on 6/9 shooting, all from behind the arc. He also had 3 rebounds and 3 assists, but he played great defense on Gatens and was one of Purdue's guards who held Gatens in check for much of the game.
In fact, While the 23 point victory might seem to be pretty ugly, but honestly, it could have been much worse. Matty called off the dogs with about 5 minutes left and Purdue had a line-up that included Bade, Marcius and Day for a couple minutes. This game was far from perfect for Purdue, but the defense, combined with excellent team blocking out and solid shooting from a few guys made it no contest at all. Lets remember, Iowa was coming off of a close loss to aOSU and a game v. Illinois where they played well and stayed within striking distance for much of that contest. Purdue stopped any momentum the Hawkeyes might have had and made sure the game was interesting to no one outside of the Purdue family.
I continue to like what I see from LewJack- he had 7 points, while making all of his shots and added 5 rebounds and 7 assists. He had 4 turnovers though...so he can clean that up. He did a great job off of the dribble and Iowa didn't seem to have anyone who could guard him with the ball in his hands. The offense that Matty runs through Jackson much of the time was potent...and get this (but don't tell anyone)- it even had a few sets that were very effective. Painter's signature motion offense is morphing into something much more effective and much tougher to defend.
JJ had 16 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 4 blocks. As Purdue continues to filter the defense toward 25, he continues to clean up the mess and intimidate. So even when he's not at his 19 points/game scoring, he's still making noise.
Barlow had 11 points and 4 rebounds, but just took the game over for a stretch in the first half. His effectiveness was limited a bit after he rolled his ankle following a steal. He continues to be pesky and annoying to opposing guards...which I love and hate at the same time. He's gotten better on both sides of the court this season, but still has some growing up to do, in my opinion. He's a work in progress that might be All-Big Ten next season...if nothing else, he'll be All-BT defensive team in '12.
TJohn had 7 points, while only missing one shot, and Carroll had 6 rebounds and was 1/1 from the field.
It was an efficient day. But, we haven't yet seen a game in which everyone, from the Big 2 to the "new" offensive threats are on at the same time. It'll happen this season, and I pity the team who is on the business end of that performance.
Following the game, Purdue's composite computer ranking is 8th. And with a losses by Kentucky and Mizzou this weekend, their human poll rankings should be nearly the same come tomorrow afternoon.
Next up, Purdue heads to their personal house of horrors, Minnesota to exact some revenge on Thursday.