Bounceless Boilers Beat Highlanders from New Jersey
After shooting 65% versus Auburn...then (probably) eating lots of pies and potato based dishes, the following day, Purdue came home to Mackey and looked a bit like a team without a ton of 'pop'.
Biggie got dunked on (with authority), Haas played kinda small, Vincent didn't pick right up where he left off in the second half versus Auburn, PJ looked out of sorts at times, as he displayed a shoot-first mentality, and the world-beater version of Mathias definitely wasn't in the house tonight...but Carsen Edwards' hot hand made another appearance, and Biggie hit the freebies. That's kinda the story.
Purdue was a more talented, deeper team...but NJIT looked like they wanted to win a lot more than our Boilers. Purdue flexed the lead out to as many as 18 points in the second half...and around 15, I believe in the first half...then allowed their opponent to hit open threes and outwill the Good Guys on a few occasions.
In spite of this, Purdue kept The New Jersey Institute of Technology at an arm's length for the entire game and cruised to a relatively easy, emotionless, 79-68 victory.
It didn't look good when: You noticed PJ had shot so many threes and hit so few (he was 2/9 from three). He finished with 8pts, 3ast, 2tos and a steal.
You knew it was fine when: It never really felt like a loss...but seeing NJIT's Lynn light it up from three, in a red uni gave me flashbacks to Ark-LR...shuttttttter. But after a technical foul on NJIT's Ukawuba kinda did them in, it was easier to watch Purdue salt it away...Biggie hit all of his free throws during that tech and went 10/10 from the line. He also threw in 22 points, grabbed 13 boards and had 3 assists for giggles.
In spite of Biggie putting up yet another double-double, I still would give C. Edwards my gameball. That might not be fair, but I'm really enjoying watching him develop as a player, and he was a pretty good dude to my son after the game. Carsen continues to exhibit quickness with his feet, and an ability to shoot without conscience and make opponents pay for laziness on defense. My guess is he's still not going to start for a while, based on Painter's habits of the past...but he's changing the mentality of Purdue's guards and changing the identity of the team. He finished with 19 points and 3 assists, while going 4/4 from the FT line.
C. Edwards, PJ and Biggie accounted for 16 of Purdue's points by going 100% from the line...it matters. If this team can start to consistently do the little things like that, good things will happen. As a team, the Forces of Good hit 90% of their freebies.
Turning the ball over 16 times, shooting 31% from three and playing without a ton of emotion nor toughness is not Purdue's formula for success...but I'm finding that there are enough scorers on this team for someone to pick things up when a guy or two is flat. Unlike many of the games in which Purdue players looked listless, there wasn't much of a comeback from them tonight...they just stayed meh. Can't keep doing that...but I don't think this is the norm.
Next up, Purdue gets to play a potentially angry L'ville squad on 11/30, as they're coming off of their first loss of the season. Two top-15 teams squaring up in December is a good progress test, if nothing else...and if Purdue can snatch a win (let's call it a biscuit for the time being) in the Fried Chicken Center, the home loss to Villanova will be a wash, and Purdue will have a VERY good road win on their early season tourney resume...never too early to think about March.