If you’re Ed DeChellis and you went into tonight’s game with the goal of not letting E’Twaun Moore beat you, well, mission accomplished, my friend. However, listening to the media when drawing up game plans isn’t always the best idea. Because for yet another game, Purdue shows that they’re not a two-man team, nor are they hapless without Rob Hummel.
Ryne Smith poured in 20 before fouling out to lead the Boilers in scoring (yes, you read that right) while JJ had a nifty 15 and 15, which is a pretty damn good stat line itself, as the Boilers beat Penn State 83-68 in front of almost nobody.
The story of this game was the way that the three biggest names – Moore, Johnson, and Battle – were all nearly silent in the first half. Smooge remained that way as he just never seemed to get the feel of the rattling rims of Bryce Jordan tonight. A number of people noticed the sound of the rims in Happy Valley, but I’ve noticed that before. I don’t know if it’s the acoustics or where they have mics placed…or if they’re really wonky rims. Regardless, the Boilermakers managed to overcome E’Twaun Moore only scoring 4 points – by dumping in 79 more besides his.
Ah, but people already are saying we should temper this because PSU is one of the worst teams in the conference. And to that I say, don’t worry, as you should know if you read us, we have a healthy dose of skepticism in us. However, I don’t think Penn State is that bad a team right now. Jermaine Marshall was a beast tonight with 18 points and Taylor Battle still had 18 points despite horrendous (6-22) shooting. Penn State is 1-2 and yes, the Big Ten is tough to navigate, but they’ll score some upsets this year.
I remain amazed at the deplorable fan support the Nittany Kittens get at home. One of their bloggers responded to me on Twitter and said that if the football team was perpetually 3-9 or 4-8 that Beaver Stadium would be sparse, too. I’m not sure about that, but even so, the basketball team hasn’t been the equivalent of a 3-9 or 4-8 football team recently – they’ve been competitive and entertaining in recent years. And it’s not like they play in a decrepit arena, either. I know there are complaints about the Bryce Jordan Center and, yes, it’s not perfect, but few arenas are. It’s new, modern and comfortable, though, and I just can’t find any excuses for the pathetic turnout we saw tonight and on most nights. Yes, I know the students are on break, but where are the locals? What the hell else are you going to do on a Wednesday night in central PA?
But I digress. Some other tidbits from the game…
LewJack turned up the scoring needle tonight, cashing in for 17 points and getting to the line an impressive 13 times. Of course, had he not missed six of those freebies, he would have been up in the 20s, too.
Back to good ol’ Ryne, he was 5 for 5 from three tonight, making him 12 of 18 over his last three games (three consecutive games scoring in double figures). That’s 67% from three land in Big Ten play so far. I imagine teams will begin covering him soon.
Kelsey Barlow chipped in with ten points, giving the Boilers four guys – FOUR – in double figures. The Boilers even outrebounded PSU by 15 and the only negative of the night (aside from Smooge’s 20% shooting) was the poor free throw shooting. 61% won’t get it done at crunch time, but the Boilers still won by 15 so that shows how out of hand this game COULD have gotten. Purdue also followed up a 31 point first half with a 52 point second frame. Deduce from that what you will. They gave up a lot more in the second half, too.
Next up for the Boilers is a tilt this Sunday against Iowa at Mackey. While Iowa is playing hard and competitively under Fran McCaffery, this is still a game that truly should be a walkover at home for the Boilers.