Boilers Rout Stags In Opener, 90-57
I’ve seen Fairfield play before: in the 1987 NCAA tournament, when I headed down as a sophomore to watch the 16th-seeded Stags get blown out by eventual national champion Indiana. I haven’t seen them in person since - Indiana hasn’t won a championship since then either, but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. (Correct - IU hasn’t won a title since I was in college.)
Tuesday night, the Stags spent about four minutes looking like a 16-seed (someone check on Tony Bennett), and about 35 minutes looking like a team that loses to an eventual 16-seed in its conference tournament. It took five-plus minutes and an Eric Hunter Jr. three to get Purdue its first lead, another 30 seconds or so to get a Ryan Cline three, and when Boogie hit his first three, that was pretty much that. The rest of the game was Purdue scoring, Fairfield stumbling, and an occasional break in the onslaught.
The Good Guys led by just 17 at halftime, but they didn’t need to lead by more, and when you consider that the Stags jumped out to a 6-0 lead, it really amounted to a 23-point lead once we throw out the rusty opening minutes. The second half was more of the same, and by the time Tommy Luce made his obligatory entrance (2 for 2 from the line), the game was exactly where it needed to be: safely in hand.
We can look at the stats a bit, just to kill some time - I mean, it’s the season opener, it’s supposed to be almost a practice game, right? Purdue put up 30 threes, a good sign for a lasercat offense (3PT attempts are an indication of poor defense, since normally you aren’t going to force many of them), and hit 14 of them; surprisingly, they also hit 12 of 15 from the line. Matt Haarms missed two of three, which is fine, he’s not going to fix that overnight (and he only had two trips to the line to try). Hunter missed one of two; nobody else missed one, which was good to see. Grady Eifert grabbed 10 boards, Haarms had 8 … Cline had a fantastic 8-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is solid even if you’re playing the Boiled Sports crew … oh, and Boogie. 30 points in 28 minutes. 7 of 11 from downtown. 4 of 6 inside the arc. Yeah, that’s pretty good, I think.
Evan Boudreaux got some good minutes and provided some energy, adding 10 points, 2 boards and an assist in 18 minutes. Aaron Wheeler was 0 for 3 from long range, but hit a couple of free throws and grabbed 4 boards. Nojel Eastern also couldn’t buy a bucket and had just 4 rebounds, but again, he didn’t really need to do much more, and Purdue was +15 on the glass anyway. They were also 12 for 19 in the paint, with 4 misses coming from just outside the circle - 12 for 15 at the rim is nice. (Fairfield was 8 for 15 at their end.)
Takeaways? Fairfield isn’t very good. Purdue’s looking pretty good but needs a couple more games to get the offense in tune. C-Boogie is the best. We probably won’t get a good read on this team until the Florida State game, if not the Big Tenteen opener at Michigan during Delany Is Dumb Week. Carsen’s mom thought he had a good game.
Also, Larry Clisby made it back for the game. Cancer still sucks.
The Good Guys host Ball State on Saturday before heading to Charleston to face Appalachian State and two other teams who won’t be enough of a test … we hope. When the 6-0 Boilers travel to Tallahassee, we can really start paying attention.
Feature image courtesy of @BoilerBall - there will be better pics later but we gotta keep moving here