If you would have told me in December that Purdue could miss 11 free throws, get out-rebounded in a half and turn the ball over 14 times and still win by double-digits, I'd tell you that you're crazy. Purdue played like crap today, honestly. They did a good job getting into the lane and drawing fouls...but had a ton of one-point possessions...especially in the second half. But it didn't matter. PSU made Purdue pay for none of its transgressions as the Frazier-less Lions are worse than either of the MAC teams that Purdue has played this season. They're undersized, have no transition game, are out of position all the time on defense, can't shoot and have no one that can beat anybody off the dribble.
I had tix to this one, thanks to our pal Ed...but a really crappy forecast between Indy and God's Country made me not want to drive with LBD up to the game. I don't usually say this, but it was nice being inside, away from the crap, watching this one on the couch with my family.
Purdue's play was as sloppy as the conditions outside- a wintry mix (that always sounds like a delicious Christmas snack to me) fell from the sky in the second half, but not many jumpers were raining inside of Mackey...especially for PSU. They finished somewhat strong on offense, and still shot 25.9% from the field...they were below 24% for much of the second half.
I'd love to tell you that Purdue's stifling defense made that happen...but it didn't. Purdue's effort was very good though. Painter played a lot of guys and there were tons of bright spots...here are a few.
Carroll's effort was noteworthy and effective. His post defense denied PSU goons the ball and frustrated them. Only three rebounds and no points...but he was good today in limited action (7min), and the beard was STRONG! Fear the beard, dagnabbit.
AJ had a solid, high effort game...Only 5 rebounds and 4 points in 21 minutes, but I felt he was playing smarter than the last few games and his attitude was very good. He's one of those guys whose body language says a lot...today, he got after it a bit.
Lawson and Hale were both pretty quiet.
RayDay started and his physicality made it difficult on PSU. He drove into the teeth of their defense forcing them to foul time and again. If he'd hit his freethrows, like he did v. UND, he'd be more dangerous...but he was still effective. He finished with 10 points and 5 rebounds.
Hammons was a force and PSU didn't really have an answer to his size and strength. They'd either foul him or double team him...and he was excellent passing the ball today. His footwork looks better to me as the season goes on, and his hands are very soft. He'll be a mother next year and is already a mother-in-training. Teams without legit centers will struggle against 20 for the rest of the way. He finished with 12 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 5 blocks. One chink in the armor was he brought the ball down a few times and had it ripped...pretty fixable.
Byrd kind of patiently waited for his opportunity to get open looks and shot 3-4 from distance. He finished with 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in 30 solid minutes. Like most of his teammates, he shot 50% from the FT line, sadly.
Ronnie Johnson's quickness was noteworthy today. No one on PSU was as fast as him...and this enabled him to get way too deep into their defense. When give the opportunity, he would slice up their D, draw a foul and miss a free throw shortly after. He was 1-4 from the FT line...but better from the field. He finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists. He had a couple turnovers, one was awful...but also played good-enough.
His brother, Terone played his worst game in recent memory. He got himself into trouble a couple times in the corner and just wasn't flowing really. He started strong with a 3-pointer very early...but only finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists...and 3 TOs as well.
TJohn was a bit of a microcosm for the Boiler squad- they can and will play better...but today they just didn't need to to get the W. Next up, Purdue will make the long flight to Nebraska for a 9:00 tip-off on Wednesday.
Purdue improved to .500 (again) and really needs to win the next two games to keep hopes of any post-season play alive. After that, they play another tough three-game stretch (@UM, Iowa and IU) before going to Northwestern and PSU.