The last few games, the defense lacked fire, intensity and effectiveness, but the ability to score made up for those problems. This evening, Purdue's defense got closer to what they had been the last few seasons, but the half court offense was atrocious.
The 15th-ranked Crimson Tide played tight defense that I'm sure Matty appreciated. Their defense and athleticism took away Purdue's transitional game which had helped the Boilers put big numbers recently.
In the second half versus Temple, Purdue found the ability to hit free throws again. But today, Purdue's problems at the free throw line reared their ugly head again as Purdue left 8 freebies on the floor and shot 58%.
On top of the free throw shooting woes, Smith lost his hot hand as he shot 1-5 on the day as he struggled to find space. LewJack led the team with 8 rebounds and also had 8 points. Barlow played a solid game finishing with 11 pts, 5 reb, 3ast and a steal. Hummel struggled mightily to score from the floor, but finished with 17 points due to his perfect 6-6 night from the free throw line.
Jacob Lawson showed some flashes of brilliance while blocking a shot, pulling down a few rebounds and not allowing Bama's Green to bully him while battling for a jump ball in the second half. AJ had 8 points and a couple of assists and rebounds...but struggled a bit with Bama's guard speed...but so did Purdue's team, really.
As a team Purdue shot just over 23% from three, and 35.7% from the field...but the credit should go to Bama as they contested every shot.
EsPN seemed to be in love with Alabama, and that doesn't say a ton since the network already has vested interest in their conference. But, they're a team that deserves to be in the top-20 and Purdue played them tough for about 30 minutes. Purdue won't play a team of their caliber again until they visit X in the first week of December. So hopefully before then, they'll be able to figure out a few things and improve as a team.
I fully expect this Purdue team to get better as the season goes along. But, if they don't find a forward who can consistently crash the glass and can't figure out the secret to free throw shooting, their progress will be stunted. I believe Painter said he'd re-evaluate the Hale redshirt situation after the trip to PR...I'm still rooting for Donnie to play this season as I think Purdue will struggle against athletic frontcourts with Carroll or Marcius in the game. But I'm sure the coach knows more than I about this situation.
Last thing about Bama, let's remember this team had gotten beaten by Purdue two-straight times in the last two years. The first coming in a close game in Tuscaloosa, the second coming in a not-so-close one last year in Mackey. They were pretty motivated to win v. our Boilers...and at this point in the season, they're just a better team. I'd love to see Purdue get the chance to play them in March so they can compare notes again.
Next up, Western Michigan comes to Purdue on Thanksgiving Eve at 7:00. It'll be watched by hundreds as the BTN screws Purdue, yet again, and banishes the Boilers to the interwebnets.
Methinks the BTN sucks and I miss watching early season games on WTTV. Why have overflow channels if they're never used? Why tell us that every B1G home game will be televised when it's not?