Boilers Win Fifth Straight; Beat up on Valpo 80-50
Purdue was favored by 16 points coming into this one...and it felt like a bit of a trap game to me. Unusually early 6:30 tipoff time versus the always feisty Valpo Crusaders following a tough win v. Northwestern...and Valpo is a quiet 8-0 team. A perfect trap.
When it started slowly, I thought, "uh oh."
Purdue really couldn't score early on...not on the inside, and not from deep. But the Boiler defense looked good...and the effort was notable. Purdue was scrapping for loose balls, grabbing rebounds and didn't seem disinterested; just couldn't score many points in the opening minutes of this evening's game in the Greatest Arena in America.
Slowly but surely, Purdue found its offensive legs. Haas started notching out deep position, and in doing it, he made it awfully difficult for the undersized Valpo squad to keep it close. Then Mathias hit a few shots...THEN, Dutch Thunder got the Boiler faithful and bench excited with two blocks in about two minutes of play. I won't say Haarms' blocks were the catalyst of the victory, but they seemed like the pivot point of the game.
After instant energy came into the game, Purdue started scoring in bunches in the lane. Boogie drove well, Vince played with a ton of energy and Haas was solid.
Vince had 12 points at the half...and Purdue already lead by 20, at that point. It didn't get better for Valpo...Purdue extended the lead out to 30+ points minutes into the second half, and Purdue cruised to victory. V. Edwards led his Boilers with 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals in 28 minutes. It felt like he could have scored more, but was playing very unselfishly...and he played hard. When Vince plays like that, good things happen to Purdue.
Boogie had 14 points...went 0-3 from three...but in spite of slumping a bit from deep recently, he didn't force the issue. Big Drago had 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. The only teammate he's ever looked up to, added 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and an assist. Mathias and Thompson also added 8 points each.
Luce scored a point, Ewing had four points in as many minutes, Cline a dribble drive bucket and Eastern showed some skill late in the game (after one of the worst FT efforts I've ever seen in a Purdue uni...he's a Frosh...there's time for improvement). Oh yeah, Jacquil not only got into the game, but scored three points.
Turns out, the #21 Purdue squad is a big grizzly bear, and Valpo brought a trap made for tiny, soft bunnies. The game wasn't ever in doubt, much to the chagrin of the old people that were streaming for the exits with about ten minutes remaining in the contest. Unlike those seasoned citizens, I love a good blowout when my Boilers are doing the head cracking.
Purdue improved to 9-2 with tonight's easy victory, and as J reminded me last night during the Handsome Hour, they are undefeated in games not played in ballrooms in this young campaign. That dude is really wise. Sadly, I haven't yet forgotten those two stinking, steaming piles of crappy effort...time and victories are the salve for that wound. Purdue's effort in the last few games has been high, even when the deep ball hasn't been falling. That effort is the key to a few of these recent wins.
Next up, Purdue will welcome a two-win IUPUI team on Sunday night...Star Wars night, at Mackey. The Forces of Good will almost certainly prevail.