Workmanlike Boilers Handle their business in Cancun
Purdue's size and strength around the basket was a problem from the get-go for Utah State in the ballroom/gym of the Hard Rock All-Inclusive resort in Cancun Tuesday night. So if I told you that a duo would put beat Utah State into submission, you'd probably guess it was Haas and Biggie...you'd be half right.
Haas played as big as his frame, and there wasn't an Aggie that was even in his league. After working himself into position time and again, he dazzled the biased Purdue crowd with an array of easy dunk finishes, quick spin moves and pump fakes before smoothly finishing. 26 points on 9 of 10 shooting (8/11 from the stripe), with six rebounds and four assists for good measure.
Swanigan wasn't matched in the lane either...as he and Biggie forced Utah State fouls to pile up in a hurry. He almost had a double-double in the first half alone, but finished the game with 15 points and 10 rebounds. He went 8/9 from the FT line. Biggie didn't play his normal amount of minutes in the second half simply because he wasn't needed...Purdue held a 20 point lead of much of the second portion.
The game was far from a gimme, especially in the first half as the lead shrunk down to just one point with four minutes left...after a 12 point lead evaporated very quickly. On the back of the bigs, Purdue flexed the lead out to double digits. Then, the Dakota Mathias Show began.
In the second half, Mathias simply took over. As Utah State tried to collapse on the lane, Purdue made the extra pass and Mathias stuck dagger after dagger. He finished six of seven from three, nine of 10 from the field, before the Boilers ultimately won easily, 85-64.
Vincent had a quiet, somewhat underwhelming night with just 10 points...while shooting a lackluster thirty percent.
When Purdue's lead shrunk 11 points in a matter of minutes in the first half, it felt pretty familiar...and when V. Edwards was a bit of a no-show during that same period, it felt like an upset, or at least another long night, might be in store for the Forces of Good...But Matty dialed them in during halftime, and Purdue simply cruised as they made plays time and again. Purdue's size, strength, quickness and talent just mauled these Aggies.
Purdue will face 4-0 Auburn in the Cancun Challenge Championship, Wednesday at 8:30p.
That will be fun...but the best part of the week might have come just following Purdue's Semi Final win, as IPFW dealt a knockout blow to Coach Forehead's road-tripping Hoosiers. Bryson Scott played well, but IPFW's bigs stuffed IU's big me over and over down the stretch before winning in overtime.
This is generally a great sports week/weekend...but seeing a highly-ranked IU squad get stunned as the Good Guys win one easily, is a damned fine kickoff of this double-duty, made-for-TV sports week.