Boilers Run IU out of Mackey: 83-67
Player of the game: RayDay Moment of the day: Hammons carrying Davis off the court
What we took from it: They're not dead yet.
Biggest surprise: Purdue's complete domination of the contest
If you read our predicto, you know that we were not all in agreement about this one. I think we all thought Purdue could beat IU…and none of us really believed the hype that IU was that good of a team…But, our Boilers have struggled defending the three pointer this season at times. So when one of the best perimeter shooting teams in the country comes to Mackey, regardless if they wear pajama pants as warm-ups or not, it’s tough to believe Purdue will come out on top. I was wrong about I thought would happen tonight- and I love admitting it.
But earlier tonight, not only did they come out on top, they simply dominated IU. From the get-go, it was apparent that not only was Mackey arena in throw-back mode, so were our Boilers. Both the crowd and the good guys on the court performed like I expect them to.
When you watch IU, you know a few things- they can shoot and they’re undersized. I told J a few days ago that Tom Crean might be doing his best coaching job of his IU career this season. Sure Ferrell is a damned good point guard, and IU has scorers, but they’re an incomplete team.
Painter knew that coming in too, and had his Boilers well-prepared. Defensive intensity was high from the beginning, both on the perimeter and in the lane, and Purdue tried to get both Haas and Hammons involved often…and it worked BUT, the story is a bit more complex and unexpected than that.
When Jon Octeus picked up a few early fouls, Purdue was forced to thrust both Thompson and Scott into additional minutes. Scott responded well and frustrated IU in the process. He did what many hoped he was capable of doing night-in, night-out on this level. He played fast and with energy that no one on the court could match…that’s happened before this season. BUT, he played with just enough poise and control at the same time.
RayDay called Scott the hero of the game. Scott’s numbers make a good argument for that- 11 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists in 22 minutes of work is OK, if you’re into that sort of thing. But some things that he did that didn’t show up on the box score might have been more important. He came up with 50/50 balls, played with emotion that his teammates fed off of and even slowed down one time just enough to gather himself before looking up the court on a fast break.
Bryson Scott said he was just trying to take advantage of the opportunity…and recognized after the game that he’s put himself in a position with the coaches that his chances have been limited. If he plays another game or two like this, I might not be terrified as I look ahead to life A.J.O. (after Jon Octeus).
Another unexpected catalyst of tonight’s massacre was Smotherman. 8 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 19 minutes. Much like v. Iowa, he played very smart, was opportunistic and in the right place time and again v. IU. This season is shaping up as the inverse of last year for this son of a coach- he ran out of gas in late December of last season…but this year, he really didn’t make much noise until well into January.
Edwards was rock solid with 9 points, 5 rebounds 3 assists, 2 steals…and like Smotherman and Scott, did the little things. When IU nearly threatened to get back into the game, he made plays…and like he has for most of the season, he just seems to never force the issue. Sometimes that’s bad (when no one else is stepping up), but nights like tonight, it’s very good.
Hammons finished with a colossal game…and the more IU tried to fight, the more effective Purdue’s shorter 7 footer became. It was like watching a little brother try to remove his big brother’s massive hand off of his tiny forehead. As IU flailed, Hammons got stronger…and stayed poised…and frustrated the crap out of IU. 11 points and 8 rebounds is A-OK by me. PLUS, he was having fun. When the normally-laid back, almost blue Hammons is smiling and emotional, Purdue usually prevails. Tonight was no different.
I’m told Yogi Ferrell is a great player. His performance tonight suggests he’s pretty good. But some of the measures of great players are they make those around them better…rise to the occasion and fight through adversity. Ferrell seems to do none of those…in fact, in spite of being able to drive nearly at will tonight, he spent more time whining about the officials (who seemed to be fond of him) than urging his teammates on. I’m sure he’s a fine human being, but I enjoy watching him lose. He seems to be the emblem of Tom Crean’s IU- A ton of hype, a big show and unrealized potential. After all, the Forehead gave him the number 11 because he thought he would be like Isaiah Thomas. Well, Thomas was also a whiner on the court; so there’s that.
Games like this stoke the embers of my feelings for IU. Seeing them lose to the good guys, reading tweets from their fans and watching Clappy squirm, warms the dark, cold recesses of my heart. The Forehead’s crappy attempts at acting like he's not bothered as Purdue smokes his Hoosiers, that kid from Cathedral fouling out as Purdue pours it on and the Paint Crew gives him hell, watching red jackets head for the exits with minutes left to play and enjoying loops of highlights late into the night all feel great.
Enough about IU.
Purdue beat its second-straight ranked team for the first time in four seasons. Purdue didn’t really play a great game…and still beat that ranked team. PLUS, our Boilers are starting to have a defensive identity…and RayDay is taking ownership of the team.
I didn’t talk about that guy did I?
All he did was score 19 points, grab five rebounds and go 8/8 from the FT line while frustrating IU’s mediums (I think we can call them that). He also hit a timely three pointer…didn’t force anything offensively and kept IU off balance by slashing. Defensively, he continues to want the challenge and he delivers. I thought this team would actually become Vince Edwards’ team as the season progressed. Turns out, having an experienced upper classmen (or two) in the starting line-up might actually be good for the youngsters on the squad. Who knew.
One thing was clear tonight, Purdue was better, much better than IU. And while our Boilers haven’t yet dug out of the large crater that they created for themselves back in December, they’re giving indicators that they might salvage the season…and dare we say it, fight their way into a game in March that actually matters.
I’m getting ahead of myself; I get that. If nothing else, tonight was pretty great. Next up, The Forces of Good take the short trip to Evanston to try to give the purple their seventh-straight loss on Saturday.