In the wake of nearly losing to Northern Kentucky, Purdue fans seemed apprehensive, to say the least. The small Mackey Arena crowd was unusually serene as the game started...and the lack of energy and library-quiet atmosphere allowed the underdog Blue Devils to concentrate and do what they do best: slay giants...at least for a few minutes. Central Connecticut jumped on Purdue early...as Purdue started off sluggish in spite of AJ Hammons re-introduction into the Boiler lineup. With just over 12 minutes left in the first half, it was just a one-point game about three minutes later, Purdue's lead swelled to double digits...and at the end of the half, the Forces of Good were up 22.
CentConn starts four guards and a forward...their tallest guy on the roster is 6'8"...and they rely heavily on a bunch of 6'5" to do their work. Purdue was bigger than them in most match-ups (the exceptions coming with RonJohn and Carter were in the game), and the Boilers' size just wore out a very thin, overmatched team.
The lead of 20+ swelled to just under 40 points before Matty completely called off the dogs. That's when Travis Carroll made it rain from deep and a moment later, John McKeeman did the same. For those of you who don't remember him, McKeeman was the man of mystery who entered a Purdue game last year in which almost no Purdue fan knew who he was...that's no longer the case as Ryne Smith made sure to Tweet him credit and make him a household name (at least for Purdue people). As dead as Mackey was early, the promise of a sizeable final score and a few walk-ons getting their chances to score pushed Mackey to erupt a bit.
It was ugly, but the final score of 109-73 was the highest total points for a Painter-coached Boiler team...in fact, it was the most points scored by a Purdue team since 1997.
TJohn led all scorers with 17 points, four Boilers had five rebounds...one of those had a silly stat line that needs to be passed on. In his first game back since being suspended, Hammons scored 12 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and blocked 7 shots...all in 17 minutes of play. On one possession for CentConn, Hammons had three blocks...The threat of #20's presence alone changed the game from that point on. RonJohn had 11pts, 5 reb and 4 ast while only turning it over once...and Errick Peck stayed solid with 11, 5 and 3.
Everything worked tonight because Purdue played an overmatched squad...next up, things ratchet up a bit as the Rider Broncs come calling on Sunday night at 7:00. The good news is BTN will actually air this one on TV without an extra charge to you the viewer (YAY!). The bad news is, BTN will rest its cables and cameras for the following game versus Eastern Illinois (unless you're willing to pay them more money). Booooo...Boooo BTN! Liars...Boooooooooo.