Boilers Blow Out Cougars, 105-74
Feature image from @Boilerball
SIU-Edwardsville isn't any good: #301 kenpom, 6-24 last season, just one win in the Ohio Valley Conference. Purdue was very good: you may recall them as the team that won the Big Tenteen by two games, #17 kenpom, just one contributor who didn't return for 2017-18 (and is rebounding just as well in The League as he did in college ball).
So this was the perfect opener for the Good Guys: a team unlikely to pose much of a challenge. Aside for brief stretches in the first half, and some issues on the glass, the Cougars did not push Purdue much, as the Boilers hit three figures in the season opener for the second straight year in a 105-74 rout, capping a solid Friday for Purdue sports. (Volleyball upset #3 Minnesota 3-1, and WBB rallied to stop Central Michigan 79-69.)
While the offense looked a little shaky at times, all of it could be attributed to opening-game jitters: for every awkward entry pass or questionable shot, there were three or four possessions that ended up in the net, sometimes with emphasis. All nine Boilers who played 10+ minutes had offensive ratings above 110; Matt Haarms had the lowest rating at 113, and he had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals in 18 minutes. Purdue shot .643 from two, .474 from three, and .750 at the line (24 of 32), and averaged 1.38 PPP.
Nojel Eastern had 5 boards and 8 assists against 2 turnovers. Dakota Mathias had a team-high 18 points and was perfect from the line and behind the arc. Isaac Haas had 16 points and 7 boards in 17 minutes. Vince Edwards had 14 points, 5 boards and 3 blocks. I mean, Grady Eifert was 4 for 4 from the field. If you want to complain about something, well ... I guess Ryan Cline was 1-3 from three and took one shot inside the arc. (But also had 2 rebounds, 3 assists and no turnovers.)
Defense was a little off at times - Julian Torres led all scorers with 20 points in 18 minutes, but also fouled out - so I guess you could complain about that a little, but seriously, for an opening game, this was about exactly what you'd want to see ... if you could see it, because you probably couldn't. BTN+ is the package you order to watch non-revenue sports, which means if you weren't at the game or at a bar, you probably didn't see it. Which is too bad, because you missed plays like these.
Shoot, just watch the complete set of highlights.
Does this tell us much about what's going to happen this year? No. Does it tell us much about December? Probably not. What it does tell us is that Sunday's game is going to go almost exactly like this one, which will give the Boilers another live scrimmage before their trip to Marquette ... and that game will tell us quite a bit, especially given Delany's gigantic mistake that pushed two conference games into December. After Fairfield, the Boilers have four straight top-50 kenpom opponents, so there won't be a lot of time to work through issues before games really start counting. Of course, if the Boilers play this well ...
Feature photo courtesy of Purdue Sports and Sandra Dukes-USA Today Sports