30 Horrendous Minutes Doom Boilers in the 'Ville
Purdue waited until the closing minutes of the game to decide to fight on defense and the glass and start hitting shots...and they still weren't blown out.
I predicted a 7-10 point loss, but I was completely wrong about how Purdue would get there. The bigs struggled mightily...all three members of the starting frontcourt, to be precise, looked pretty lousy for too much of the game, to be effective. Louisville's length and defensive scheme simply knocked them out of sync...and they didn't really counterpunch, no fight back. They didn't rebound well, couldn't score and really had a problem simply holding onto passes.
How bad were Purdue's starting forwards and center? Glad you asked.
Well, the guy who is supposed to be an All-American had a solid 14 points and 11 rebounds...yet another double-double. BUT, he turned the ball over six times...and it felt like 10 TOs. He hit a couple late threes that helped the game not feel like the shellacking that it actually was, but Swanigan's numbers are kinda like the 64-71 final score- It doesn't look too bad, but if you watched, it was a different story.
Next up, Haas had 8 points and 5 boards...but in the first half and early in the second, he was completely ineffective as he simply didn't make plays. While Louisville really didn't have a guy who matched up with him physically, they used double teams and switched defensive positioning to confuse him as to which direction they'd be coming from. Haas confidence seemed clearly rocked early...and he never really recovered. After a blistering start to the season, Haas has had 10, 8 and 8 points in the last thee games...I'm not saying there's reason for concern just yet, but I will say that unless he figures out how to keep the ball higher and fight through double teams, his dream of getting to the league this Spring will stay just that.
Finally, Edwards finished with ONE point, 3 rebounds and a solid 3 assists...oh yeah, his 3 TOs negated those assists. He played 22 minutes...but I didn't notice him on the court for more than five of those...and I noticed him for the wrong reasons.
At one point in the first half, Purdue was down by nine, and I said to myself, "how is it only a nine point deficit??" Moments later, Louisville put on a few stops, made a few shots and pushed the lead into the teens. In the second half, Purdue tried to cut down the lead early, with no luck, The Crypt Keeper's squad cut off passing lanes, and started making shots (for the first time in the game), and the lead swelled to 17 about midway through the second half.
When Purdue was down by 10, it shoulda been 20...Purdue's one saving grace tonight was Louisville's inability to make shots. Not only was Purdue playing badly, but so was the host team...so if you missed it, don't watch it on DVR unless your're a masochist.
Thompson finished with 13 points on 4/7 shooting. Cline had 9 points while going 3/3 from the field, and Carsen Edwards shot a lot...and missed a lot. He went 4/15, had 9 points, but had 3 turnovers.
Purdue's 17 turnovers were a killer, they came at inopportune times (not that there's a good time to have a turnover)...but when Purdue really needed to stop the bleeding in the first half, they simply couldn't. They didn't look like a team with a high basketball IQ, they didn't look like a team that shot the ball well, and maybe most damning, they didn't look like the toughest team on the court. Louisville was relentless in the passing lanes and around the basket...they didn't really didn't beat-up on Purdue though, they allowed Purdue to do it themselves.
In one five minute period, late in the first half, Purdue couldn't hit shots, make passes nor stop Louisville's plodding offense.
As J said earlier via text, this isn't that good of a Louisville team, but Purdue looked much worse. So Purdue has followed up the close loss at home against Villanova with a sound beating in Louisville and their next ranked opponent (probably) will be UND in Indy. Oh yeah, that even where Purdue is 0-5...you know, the one where the guys that chose to go to UND or Butler over Purdue get to remind us about that...tons of fun.
Demetrius Jackson pistol-whipped our Boilers two years ago...hopefully Vincent can stay in front of VJ Beachem on defense so I don't have to hear his name over and over. Thank God Jackson declared for the draft last Spring.
I sound pretty down on my Boilers because they had another great opportunity to start compiling resume builders, and they looked half-asleep for 30 minutes of this important game. Games like this and Villanova are the difference between a 4 and 6 seed. I don't think Purdue has the horses nor the team identity to rip through the B1G this season and earn a high seed by winning the conference...IU looks long, athletic and skilled, MSU has NBA talent and grit to match, Wisconsin looks like Wisconsin again; tough sledding.
All isn't lost, but Purdue is surely not the 15th best team in America as they stand now...and they left no doubt that they don't belong in that fraternity tonight.
The streak of seven-straight B1G/ACC wins straight is over...but that made for TV event doesn't matter to me nearly as much as watching another Painter-led team fight back when the game was already lost just to notch a moral victory...again. Pitino said Purdue should contend for the B1G tite, Wright said Mackey was a great/tough place to play. To the victor goes the figurative pat on the head of the Boilers, I guess.
Next up, Purdue welcomes Morehead State to Mackey on the 3rd.