Missed Opportunities End Purdue’s Winning Streak vs Ohio State, 64-63

Missed Opportunities End Purdue’s Winning Streak vs Ohio State, 64-63

Feature image from PurdueSports.com and the incomparable Charles Jischke & Paul Sadler

Starters: PJ Thompson, Carsen Edwards, Dakota Mathias, Vince(nt) Edwards, Isaac Haas
Finishers: PJ Thompson, Carsen Edwards, Dakota Mathias, Vince(nt) Edwards, Isaac Haas


What happened?

The Big Ten leaders, 12-0 hosting 11-1 in the conference’s most hostile environment. Purdue looking to extend a 19 game winning streak, Ohio State unexpectedly looking to grab pole position for the conference title. B10 Player of the Year frontrunners Vince Edwards vs Keita Bates-Diop. B10 Coach of the Year frontrunners Matt Painter vs Chris Holtmann. More than Saturday’s game at Michigan State, this was the one Purdue had to grab to stay favorites for a #1-seed in March.

After a game of runs, turnovers, dead legs, and missed opportunities, Purdue fell in a last-possession battle to Ohio State in Mackey Arena, 64-63. It was Purdue’s first loss inside Mackey Arena since January 1, 2017.

Purdue opened the game inside, as they’ve done often during this stretch. Isaac Haas got tremendous post positioning against the 6’9” Kaleb Wesson, getting automatic buckets as Purdue’s outside shooting remained frighteningly cold. Carsen Edwards was finding a ton of early success attacking the paint, with Haas (16 points) and Carsen (12 points) combining to score 28 of Purdue’s 31 first half points.

You read that right. Vince Edwards missed all six first-half looks (while looking solid defensively against Jae-Sean Tate and KBD). Mathias made one of his two looks beyond the arc. PJ Thompson and the bench mob of Matt Haarms, Ryan Cline, Nojel Eastern, and Grady Eifert combined for five field goal attempts, all off the mark.

Meanwhile, Ohio State was struggling to get KBD or Tate going, surviving on points off Purdue’s 5 first half turnovers. Mathias was doing a great job defensively, but late in the first half Purdue switched Cline onto KBD. To be completely honest, Cline did an admirable job for who he is, but the other four defenders shaded hard for the help and KBD made easy passes to cutters for open layups.

The second half opened with an ugly first five minutes, leading into the two runs that defined Purdue’s night of missed opportunities:

The first was from the 15- to the 10-minute marks of the second half. Purdue was holding on to a 2-point lead, and went on a tear to finally break the game open. Carsen three off a screen, splash. Vince nailing his first basket of the game, a three in KBD’s face that returned the favor on the previous possession. The patented Haarms block, followed by 11 straight Carsen Edwards points for Purdue. Mackey was roaring, Purdue was up by 14, and had the buffer they needed to close a win during the game’s final ten minutes.

And that’s when we focus on the second run: when Purdue’s bench mob took over, the offense stagnated and KBD/Tate found their rhythm. After a few solid games, Nojel Eastern got torched by KBD and (of all people) Andrew Dakich. Cline lost several steps on defense in the second half, and never even attempted a shot in the game. PJ was invisible, and Haas’ effectiveness waned. Suddenly, Purdue’s darkest timeline was unfolding – all the shooters went cold, athletic wings were dominating Purdue on the glass, and Purdue’s bench couldn’t take advantage of the buffer that the starters built.

But, we know this Purdue team doesn’t fold. Vince woke up when the Boilermakers needed him the most, attacking the basket and getting buckets the hard way. Carsen kept finding ways to score. Purdue’s lead was under five for the last five minutes, and their weaknesses were particularly glaring tonight, but nerves still didn’t take over. They got great looks (one in particular – a Haas kickout to Vince for an open three, which would have made it a three-possession game with 90 seconds left), but the cold streak continued.


The game was over when…

When this dang Andre Wesson shot went in, we should have known it was OSU’s game:

Think back on Purdue’s 19-game winning streak and remember all the shots Michigan missed, and you realize how prevalent luck in the right situation is for wins. In this instance, Purdue wasted a ton of opportunities, Ohio State kept chipping, and they were set up for a ridiculous banked three to make a difference.

Vince responded with a fantastic drive and-one, putting Purdue back up with 52 seconds remaining. But the rebounding monster returned: Purdue’s fantastic defense forced a rushed OSU drive in traffic and the miss bounced off three sets of Purdue hands (Haarms, Carsen, Mathias), ending up with OSU. With 16 seconds left, OSU came up with the game-winning offensive rebound:

Haas missed a decent fadeaway look as time expired, and just like that Mackey was silent.

Absolutely everything Purdue fans had been worrying about went wrong – Vince went cold for most of the night, Mathias was ineffective, PJ was invisible, the bench didn’t score a single point, and Purdue was getting outworked on the glass. And yet, it took a lucky three and a putback off two offensive rebounds for a top 15 team to secure the win over Purdue.

Our Boilers looked gassed, both mentally and physically. They’ve been playing their guts out since July, they’ve been getting everyone’s best shot for three months straight, and their best player was coming off a flu-riddled week. Don’t misunderstand me – the rebounding was awful (despite the numbers), the three-point shooting was spotty for the fourth straight game, and the supporting cast was nowhere to be found. This was also the worst game to come up short, as Ohio State now has the inside track at the Big Ten Championship and Purdue faces a possible two-game losing streak as they take on Michigan State in East Lansing this Saturday. If Purdue’s not careful, this could cost them a shot at a #1-seed in March.

But Purdue almost walked away with this win despite that laundry list of missed opportunities, and if we’ve learned anything about these Super Seniors it’s this: They know how to take a punch, and they know how to recover.

Time for another 19-game winning streak, don’t you think?


Player of the Game:

Carsen Edwards was the clear choice on Purdue’s end. A career-high 28 points on 8/13 shooting (4/7 three), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and only 1 turnover in 36 minutes, and blew Mackey’s tin roof off a handful of times.But, if we’re being honest, this was Keita Bates-Diop’s night, especially during OSU’s second half run. 18 points on 9/18 shooting, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, fantastic defense on Vince (the refs let a lot of fouls go on both sides of the ball, we can’t complain in good conscience) and the go-ahead putback in 39 minutes. KBD clinched the conference Player of the Year tonight, there’s no two ways about it.


The Good:

  • Mackey was incredible tonight. It’s a perfectly designed arena filled to the brim with die-hard fans, doesn’t have a bad seat in the house, and is the loudest gladiator arena in the country when it’s going.
  • The 19-game, 76 day winning streak. It came with some close calls, some wonderful blowout wins, and a reason to believe in this group when things get rough. Not bad, I’d say.
  • Carsen was a beast tonight, almost singlehandedly carrying Purdue in the second half to a win. I can’t wait to see what he does at the Breslin Center this weekend.
  • Vince, when Purdue needs him the most. But they could have used a full game, and not just the final 15 minutes. Hopefully this is the official end to Vince’s slumping offensive stretch.


The Bad:

  • Fans reacting to Purdue’s first loss in 76 days on Twitter/in my mentions/on message boards. This isn’t football. This doesn’t disqualify Purdue from a great run in March, or even from a Big Ten title if Ohio State stumbles in the final three weeks of the regular season. This is a final-possession loss, against a top 15 team with the B10 Player of the Year and B10 Coach of the Year favorites, in the first week of February. It was a night where Purdue fell short in multiple facets, where one rebound would have kept Purdue’s undefeated streak intact. They didn’t, they lost, and if we’ve learned anything about this group we know it’ll light a fire under them just in time for March.
  • Rebounding.

That’s a little out-of-context, but everyone staring at the rim while nobody boxed out was extremely representative of the night. We knew Purdue’s rebounding would be their Achilles’ heel this year, and it was extremely evident tonight. Ohio State barely outrebounded Purdue on the statsheet (31 to 30), but the 6 to 2 advantage on the offensive glass and 8 OSU second-chance points was the difference.

  • Purdue’s first offensive rebound was Carsen Edwards’, with 3:30 left in the game. I know I already talked about rebounding, but sheesh.
  • Purdue’s bench scoring zero points. Looking at you, Ryan Cline and Matt Haarms.


The Ugly:

  • A measly loss won’t stop me from making jokes about an Andrew Dakich airball:

(Dakich’s layup with just over 3 minutes in the game was one of the most critical buckets in the game, so he definitely got the last laugh, but pettiness cannot be stopped.)

  • Back-to-back post up misses midway through the first half, one absolutely wild Nojel post-up that caromed off the backboard like a pigeon through a clean window, the next was the most bizarre Haas missed dunk that he couldn’t repeat if he tried.


Moving Picture Thingy of the Night:

This Carsen and-one is about as loud as an arena can get:


Tweet of the night:

This one’s got nothing to do with basketball, but here you go:

QuickCast: Perspective about the End of The Streak and #FightLikeTy

QuickCast: Perspective about the End of The Streak and #FightLikeTy

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