Purdue defeated Nebraska tonight in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, nearly without appearing to break a sweat. The Cornhuskers would get close -- and by "close" I mean within a half-dozen or so -- and Purdue would pull away again. This game was reminiscent of recent seasons where I used to often comment that the Boilers ground teams into a fine powder. It also reminded me of Purdue's late-season cohesion as a unit. Not even Nebraska's Hickory High-era uniforms could make a difference.
The ball moved fairly well around the perimeter, though I will say the Boilers will need to be more crisp against Ohio State to have a shot tomorrow night. The shooting -- particularly in the first half -- was very sharp. For the game, the good guys shot 56%, including 52% from beyond the arc. Sizzlin'!
Five guys in black and gold got into double figures; distribution like that is always great to see, even if it is against a team in their first year of Division 1 basketball.
(Oh, what's that? Nebraska has been Division 1 for a long time? Oh, my bad.)
Anyway, Rob had ten points on 3/7 shooting, Ryne pumped in 15 on 5/8 (all from three-land) and DJ had ten on 3/7 shooting (and only 1/4 from the line). But those guys are expected to do that...at least. What I loved seeing was the continued emergence of the Johnson boys.
AJ was doin' work off the bench tonight. In 26 minutes, he had 17 points on 7/10 shooting. It was a season high in points for #1 and was only his second double-figure scoring game since the end of the non-con schedule. And let's not forget -- he's listed as a freshman thanks to his redshirt year. So....more to come.
Is it me, or has AJ begun to emerge without the shadow of Barlow around? I'm not suggesting he was stunted by Barlow's presence -- just that without Kelsey here, AJ has been able to spread his proverbial wings.
Anthony also hit a three, hit half his free throws, dished out four assists and grabbed six rebounds. That is doing work, my friends.
The other Johnson -- Terone -- continued his rise, starting the game and playing the most minutes, while going 6/11 from the field, 2/4 from trey, scoring 16 big points, snatching six rebounds and doling out six assists. 16, 6 and 6....is there any doubt some triple doubles are in Zero's future?
I also got this feeling that LewJack is gently passing the baton. No, he's not done yet, but games like these are a good opportunity to let the young bucks shine and drop the dimes. Lew had a quiet five points and three assists but that's fine. As B-dowd said on the Handsome Hour, we almost would have been fine with them not even dressing Rob and Lew. But we're selfish and love seeing them play, so we're glad they did.
As I said at the top, the best thing about this game was that the Boilers made quick work of the Huskers. The game was honestly never in doubt, and the cornholios never got in a groove where they could have thought they had a legitimate chance. That's the way we like it and it's the way good teams handle bad teams.
Make no mistake, Purdue is a good team right now. Tomorrow night, they'll face the rested and ready Buckeyes in a rematch of one of the best Big Ten games of the season. At least they're in Purdue's state this time, and let's hope that the Big Ten Tourney doesn't mean much to those guys. That kind of a slight edge might be all the Boilers need to kick the door down.
Tune in tomorrow night to find out. The Boilers will again be the nightcap, likely around 9 PM, this time on BTN. Word is live humans will be on hand to discuss the moving pictures we'll be watching. I mean, you know, assuming the BTN production truck doesn't explode or something.
|"Bang bang! Your Big Ten career is dead, Doc!"|