Boilers Stay Golden In B1G
Powered by a macho Vincent Edwards, the frustratingly-fast Boogie Edwards, a resolute Big Drago, and glass-cleaning Windex Eastern, Purdue cruised to an 81-47 victory in Minneapolis earlier today.
It was chippy early as the all-around good guy, Lil' Richie Pitino, clearly directed his bigs to attempt to lock up Haas and Haarms with an array of armbars and elbows. It worked for a bit...but Purdue flexed it's collective muscle and broke the spirit of the beleaguered Gophers early in the second half.
After the Minnesota's administration and athletic department finally made the no-brainer decision that Pitino Jr wasn't willing to make about the despicable Reggie Lynch, Goldy was down a skilled big man. Couple that with Coffey on the bench due to injury, and the once-mighty Gophers no longer look like the contender that many thought they might be this season.
Before the Lynch issue, I admittedly didn't like Pitino because he was the son of an awful man. I figured, since he looked like the son of a movie mob boss, and his Dad acted like a real life mob boss, it all added up. But when he pleaded that he couldn't act on Lynch's case because he's just a basketball coach, my admittedly-silly gut feeling became reality. Now, I hope for him to be fired at the end of this season, and wish his team more failure like we watched today.
Back to today's game...
On the wings of Vince's 20 point first half, Purdue turned a 15 point lead into a twenty point lead, before falling asleep for a short time. Early in the second half, Minny cut Purdue's lead down to just ten points before Mathias and Boogie changed the pace of the game and put Minnesota away...with about ten minutes left in the game.
Vince finished with 25 points (5 of 7 from deep), 5 rebounds and two assists as he led his Boilers. If you didn't get to watch the game, you missed Edwards' best half of basketball as a Boiler...including international play last summer.
His pal Boogie played with a fast, controlled pace that Minnesota couldn't match. He finished the game with 14 points, 7 assists and ZERO turnovers. Haas had an extremely efficient 14 point, 5 rebound, 2 block game...and didn't play much in the second half. I gotta mention another quiet, steady effort by Mathias; 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists...and zero turnovers as well.
Purdue only shot 10 FTs...that didn't matter. The Forces of Good doubled up their foe on assists, 24-12; that was important. And Purdue out rebounded Minny 46-29...that really mattered. Purdue got open looks all day from the perimeter as the Gophers didn't rotate after being screened out. As I said, Minnesota seemed generally disinterested once they realized that Purdue was quite good at basketball.
Purdue's starting five didn't play much in the final ten minutes of the second half. The guy who led the way in an unconventional manner off of the bench was Nojel Eastern. Purdue's back-up behemoth PG, came in to relieve PJ Thompson early in the game, and gathered three quick boards while dealing out a few assists. Turns out, Thompson threw up at the half and was battling a stomach bug. Eastern had just 4 points, but muscled 10 boards and dished out 3 assists. It's really great, both for Eastern as well as this squad, that he has begun to become the player that Matty was high on.
Purdue's 17-2 record is now the best start in program history. That's saying something. This likable bunch doesn't have a superstar...but that doesn't mean they don't have talent. Boogie's speed, Vince's versatility, Dakota's steady hand, PJ's quiet leadership, Haas' strength and size and a supporting cast that seems to compliment them brilliantly is winning with defense and offense. Painter's best team, top-to-bottom is crazy-fun to watch.
Purdue improved to 6-0 in conference. They're now a half game up on aOSU...two games up on MSU thanks to Coach Beilein's upset moments ago.
Good on you, Boilers.
Next up, Purdue welcomes Wisconsin to Mackey on the 16th. Choo choo, muthas.