Hangover! Boilers Stumble Into 2017 With Home Loss
Minny gave away a game they should have won in their first B1G contest last week in overtime versus the always-in-the-hunt Spartans. So today, when they lost a massive early lead in God's country, it looked like Pitino's boys were at it again.
It started ominous as Purdue couldn't hit a shot, and Minnesota didn't miss one. It was 17-4, and five minutes into the game before Purdue looked like they were even interested in playing. BUT, the Boilers fought back into it as the defense tightened up a bit and Minny's shot selection got worse and worse. Biggie cleaned the glass, a few three started falling for the good guys, and it felt OK before the half.
In the second half, at the around the 16 minute mark, Purdue took the lead, and it made sense that Purdue wouldn't look back. Fouls were mounting for Minnesota, PJ Thompson found his stroke as did the Edwards tandem...but some head-scratching substitution patterns crept back in.
As Purdue struggled to stop Minnesota's Mason and Murphy, Cline and Albrecht played significant minutes...and the game stayed tight. Then, as one, and a second Minny forward fouled out, and a third was playing with four fouls, I thought again, Purdue's bigs would put Minnesota away.
Instead, Purdue couldn't foul Murphy out...he played the last four minutes of regulation with four fouls and another four in overtime. At the same time, Haas didn't play many (if any) minutes. I thought we might see him come in, just to try to soften the middle even more for a possession or two. But Minnesota was tougher, made more shots, played with more grit and exploited Purdue's porous defense.
The Gophers could have won it in regulation with a nearly wide open look from about 24 feet...but the shot didn't fall. In overtime, the Good Guys looked as if they had been out until 2:00a ringing in the new year. Sadly, they began 2017 with a home loss to a team they had no business losing to.
Haas was flummoxed by Minnesota's double and triple teams, and Purdue's shooters didn't take advantage of the space created. Haas struggled, to put it mildly. He finished with 6 points and 4 turnovers in limited minutes. Mathias also struggled with three turnovers and while shooting the ball, but his 10 assists made up for it. Like the entire team, both Haas and Mathias looked overmatched when on defense.
Purdue has played questionable defense at times this season, but they didn't look like a speedbump today versus Minnesota. The end result was a 91-82 loss in which the visitors won going away as Purdue simply could do little to stop the second onslaught of the day by Minnesota.
Swanigan had some fight in him though; he was a handful for the Gophers all day. He finished with 28 points and 22 rebounds. His white hot pace continues as he looks to be a real All-American candidate...but make no mistake, when Purdue's shooting from deep is as bad as it was at times tonight, our Boilers will struggle in B1G play.
Vincent's 14 and 7 were good too...but Carsen Edwards' 1-5 night from deep along with Mathias going 0-2 and Biggie clanging three on three attempts hurt a bit. But poor defense and inability to stop a hot-shooting guard was the difference. They seemed to know Mason was coming at them time and again, but made him look like Westbrook with his 31/11/6 and just one TO night.
People on Twitter pointed out that this one will hurt late in the season as Purdue seeks a conference championship. I'd argue that this one was a massive failure that makes contention a bit of a long shot. You gotta protect home court versus the middle teams in the conference.
Looky here- Wisconsin and MSU are atop the conference at 2-0 (along with the surprising 'Huskers). The next three games will define if Purdue is a contender or whatever they were last season. Two road games sandwiching a home game versus the smoldering Badgers should show us how serious we should take Matty's boys, and where we should park our expectations for the rest of the season.
In four days, they'll head to Columbus to play Matta's Buckeyes...It'll be on EsPN.