Purdue Shoots Down Stags, 106-64
On a day filled with Boiler sports, with women's basketball and football already having posted victories (alas, volleyball could not join them, falling 1-3 at Michigan), it seemed appropriate that the men's basketball team would cap the night with a rout of Fairfield; the only question would be the final score. Surely the Boilers wouldn't top 100 again, would they? No Purdue team had ever hit triple digits in three of their first four games.
Unfortunately, most people curious to find out that answer had no good way of doing so, since the game was locked behind a paywall: BTN+ is great for following non-revenue sports, but rarely shows any football and only catches the odd early-season basketball game, so naturally one of the hottest teams in the country put on a performance in front of one of the smallest digital audiences you're likely to find. Thanks, Delany!
It's a shame, too, as the Good Guys put on a clinic. They shot .613 from three ... and that's actually not representative of their accuracy, as the starters combined to hit 16 of 21 from downtown. I'm no basketball coach, but I think if you're hitting .762 from three, you should probably keep shooting from out there. For the game, the team hit 19 of 31, breaking the Mackey and team record set two years ago against Vermont (18 of 36). They led at halftime, 58-28; the 58 points tied the fourth-best output in a half by a Painter team, matching the 58-point second half they put up against Oklahoma State in 2013 (the Boilers hit 60 in that Vermont game, btw). They shot .514 from two (not bad in and of itself). They had just 9 turnovers and forced 22 Fairfield turnovers.
Dakota Mathias had 23 points in 22 minutes; Vincent Edwards 21 in 22 minutes; Carsen Edwards 18 in 20 minutes (note: he wasn't injured, there was just no need to keep him in). Vincent made it a double-double with 11 rebounds (5 offensive); Carsen added 6 assists and 5 boards, while Mathias had 4 and 4 himself. Grady Eifert was perfect from the field and the line, adding 9 in 17 minutes. Matt Haarms had 5 points, 4 boards and 5 blocks in 17 minutes. Isaac Haas had 8 and 6 (4 offensive) in 17 minutes; it's amazing that Purdue somehow got 12 offensive boards when they sure didn't seem to miss that many shots (.324 OReb%, which is actually a step down from their .400-plus efforts in the other two routs).
As in the other blowouts, there were minor areas for concern. Ryan Cline continued his extremely cold start, missing all 7 of his shots, including 4 from inside the arc ... but he still had 5 assists. Nojel Eastern picked up 4 fouls in 21 minutes and missed all 3 free throws ... but he also managed three assists, hit a nifty reverse layup, and also he's a true freshman in case anyone's forgotten.
Nevertheless, the Good Guys did exactly what you'd want an elite team to do: run their opponents off the court. Maybe we can't take much more than that from this game (.613 from three isn't sustainable; only four teams are even above .500 as I write this, with Valparaiso first at .563, against two DII schools and SIU-E). That's OK. We should know a lot more about this team in the next couple of weeks, as they'll play at least four kenpom top-40 teams, starting with Tennessee on Wednesday, with #1 Villanova and #2 Arizona possible opponents in their other two games. If they play at least as well as they did at Marquette, well, we might be having an interesting discussion in December.
Enough with the numbers!
Fine. Highlights time! I think they left some out, and speaking of out, I'm outta here. Mark your calendars: the Tennessee game is noon on Thanksgiving Eve, the semis are on Turkey Day itself, and the final game, etc. is on Black Friday. We'll keep you posted so you can enjoy some red-hot hoops with your mashed potatoes and gravy.
Feature image courtesy of our good friends at Purdue Athletics, taken by Paul Sadler