IT'S NOT A TRAP! Purdue Remains Perfect After 95-64 Win Over Youngstown State
It should be no surprise that Purdue extended it’s unblemished record to 11 wins with a 95-64 victory over the ferocious Penguins of Youngstown State. (Lets face it, this unseasonably warm weather is not ideal for penguins to thrive.)
In a vacuum, this game tells us very little about how Purdue will fare against the 'elite' competition it will face in conference play. But Purdue fans can let out a collective sigh of relief that its NCAA tournament resume will be free of an ugly seed-hampering loss. Anyone that’s followed Purdue over the years knows the sting associated with teams like Wofford, Richmond, Bucknell, and most recently Gardner-Webb. Thankfully, the list will not grow this year.
Not this season. Not this team. If there is any insight that can be gained from the last trio of games, it’s that Purdue has the maturity and leadership to stay focused and take care of business when it needs to. These were games that were very easy to overlook with #18 Butler and #21 Vanderbilt looming large on the horizon.
I digress. I’m supposed to cover the Youngstown State game, so I guess I should say something about the game...
Purdue won convincingly despite playing a relatively sloppy first half. Purdue’s depth and size eventually wore down the Penguins and resulted in the familiar second half massacre we’ve grown accustomed to seeing this season. Here are a few thoughts on the game:
- Star Wars Day. I gotta give props to the Purdue Athletic Department's marketing team for knowing its audience and putting together a great themed game. The poster might have been worth the price of admission.
- Unselfishness. 26 assists on 33 field goals. 4 players had 4 or more assists. Swanigan led the team with 6. Let that sink in for a moment...
HAAS AND HAMMONS HAAS AND HAMMONS IT'S ALL HAPPENINGGGGGGGG
— Aneesh Ramaswamy (@aneeshswamy) December 12, 2015
The world did not end like many expected, but it's hard to say Purdue gained much of an advantage from the lineup. But now we know that it exists somewhere deep in Painter’s playbook. Will we see it again? I doubt it. But now all speculation is justified.
- Haas to Swanigan, Swanigan to Haas, Swanigan to Hammons, Hammons to Swanigan. These guys are developing great chemistry and unselfishly carving up defenses. Swanigan is becoming a menace at the high post and brilliantly setting the table for Hammons and Haas. They are nearly impossible to game plan for.
- Biggie. I have about 20 notes on Swanigan’s performance and I’m not sure what aspect to focus on. He impacts the game in so many ways…This game was a perfect microcosm of the value he brings to this team. He is a bull in a china shop with a soft touch, great vision, and a team-first mentality. 15 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 5-6 from the free throw line. The light has turned on for the freshman. He’s playing much more patiently and this has exponentially increased his productivity.
- Less is More. Nice to see efficient three point shooting from the wings. Mathias and Stephens have been a little more judicious on their shot selection (relatively speaking) and it’s paid off. The Stephens/Cline/Mathias trio combined for 6-12 from outside and 18 points.
- Hammons Haas PT 2. The duo combined for 28 points and 17 rebounds. Haas struggled a bit in the first half but found his footing. I keep searching for an obvious opportunity to move AJ back into the starting lineup, but I just don’t see a good enough justification for it. I would have liked to see Haas take advantage of the man-to-man early on tonight, but I’m just being picky. While it’s pretty obvious that AJ is the better player, I also think if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
— Purdue on BTN (@PurdueOnBTN) December 12, 2015
Not so pretty...
- Keeping our thoughts with PJ Thompson. No word yet on his recovery timeline. Or if he will don a Darth Vader mask next week.
Painter said PJ Thompson got 14 stitches under his right eye.
— Nathan Baird (@nbairdjc) December 12, 2015
- Lots of points left on the board today. Several missed layups (and dunks) and mishandled defensive rebounds rebounds, and 3 second calls. Purdue won by 30+, but there is still plenty of opportunity to tighten things up.
- Perimeter D. This has been a common issue this season and will cost Purdue a game or two if it isn’t addressed. The good news is now that Ray D is back and we can expect to see some continuity.
Up Next: Next Weekend Purdue will take on #18 Butler on 12/19 in the Crossroads Classic.Three days later they take on #21 Vanderbilt in Mackey. This upcoming two game stretch will tell us a lot about this team and how they handle adversity.