First off, thanks to the Forehead and the gritty Indiana Hoosiers. Clearly, they wore out the talented Lions. IU's superior conditioning and never-say-die attitude, allowed Purdue to prevail in its first game of the '09 BT tourney.
Let's just say, every Purdue fan knew it was going to be a good night as Nemmy started off the night 2-for-2 from behind the arch. It continued as Keaton Grant channeled KG of '08 (yet again) and made PSU's match-ups extremely difficult by hitting 5-of-6 three pointers (he finished with 15 pts). Hummel led all scorers with 20 and shot nearly 70%...and looked especially fluid in the second half. LewJack played quietly, but his quickness set up a fast-break triangle on a few occasions that led to open shots. Moore quietly assassinated the Lions with 15 pts, 6ast, 4reb, 1stl and 1blk. Add to all that Chris Kramer bringing the roof of Conseco down just a bit with a tremendously athletic dunk...and attacking the hoop on a couple occasions. JJ was kept at bay, which makes me think he'll unleash the fury of hell on the Illini tomorrow. Both teams took good care of the ball, but Purdue only turned the ball over 5 times while having 20 assists- and that's pretty much your story.
If you didn't get to watch the game, you missed a very fluid, up-tempo Purdue offense unlike any we've seen this season. The defense was solid, but seemed to have a few lapses due to overpursuit and poor spacing- but honestly, I'll take this trade any day. Case in point, PSU scored 65 points...and Purdue still won. Our Boilers are now 2-9 when they allow the opponent to score over 64 points.
Purdue shot free throws well, when given the opportunity (7-for-9)...But the officials made damned sure that lil' Jamelle Cornley was protected, especially in the second half as phantom fouls made sure the tough PSU power forward wasn't injured by Purdue's brutish big men. Outside of that, it seems the officials did their collective job.
I really liked the energy I saw from Matty during the game...he seemed fired up, even as Purdue led by 20+ points in the second half. This game was an example of what this team has needed to do in multiple situations this season- they slammed the door shut and left no doubt of victory.
The Boilers should be ready to play tomorrow as they face Matty's ole boss...while the pace of tonight's game was fast, it seems no player had to play too many minutes and other than a boo boo on Kramer's leg and Buckets getting a bloody nose, Purdue comes out of the game very healthy.
Tomorrow's 4:05 tip-off on CBS gives Purdue a chance to avenge two painful losses against another team that I think simply isn't as good as Purdue. If Painter can break the spell that Weber has on him, Purdue will be playing in the Championship on Sunday.