Versus Buffalo, everything was falling in the second half...It was one of those games in which the rim's opening looked wider than the backboard...but not really for the starters. Purdue's starting five had been ratcheting up the defense in the last few contests, but hadn't had the shooting touch in quite a while. That trend has been broken.
Smooge and the Ostrich lit it up behind the arch in the first half and put the game nearly out of reach. By the time the Junior duo was done playing for the evening, they were 8-of-9 from three. On top of that, JJ simply couldn't miss from about twenty feet. His range softened the lane up nicely and created opportunities. He was clearly a tough match-up for the Crusaders who gave up about 4 inches, no matter whom they threw at 25.
Some games it's easy to see who was the player of the game, this one, not so much. Kramer was relentless on defense...and had 3 steals for his effort. Atop that, he scored 7, had 7 ast. and 4 rebounds. Smooge had 19pts while shooting 70% and had 3ast. JJ also had 19, with 7ast...they gave him credit for two blocks, I think he actually had 3.
It was a solid team effort that led to an easy 86-62 victory.
One step up...
Barlow and Bade made a few Frosh mistakes. Both seemed to get a bit ahead of themselves at times...and got into trouble because of it. But both rebounded pretty well. Although Byrd's stat line wasn't impressive, he backed up a solid effort v. Buffalo with another smart game v. Valpo. He played 15 minutes, Barlow played 17.
Come rain or shine...
The Paint Crew had a solid showing...but much of Mackey was empty. Lousy weather from Indy up to Chicago kept a lot of people off of the roads. The good news is the noise level in Mackey probably was about what it would have been had many of those people showed (yes, I'm ripping on the old people who are horrible fans).
Not much in this game was concerning. This team does what veteran-led teams do- they beat the teams they're supposed to.
But, there was a scary moment in the second half. The Ostrich went up for a rebound and was undercut in the process. He came down on his right hip/lowerback. I'm pretty sure the Purdue nation held its collective breath as we all awaited Robbie's reaction. He got up and hit his free throws...but that near-disaster signaled the end of the evening for most of the starters as Purdue's bench cleared just a moment later.
Next up Purdue travels to Alabama on Saturday. Alabama is 6-2 with notable wins over Michigan, Providence and Baylor...their two losses coming at the hands of a solid Cornell team (seriously) and FSU. The good news is Purdue won't be looking ahead as the two following games aren't anything to write home about.