Boilermakers Squeeze the Life and Perhaps the NCAA Tournament Bid Out of PSU, 78-70
(Photo credit: Boiled Sports)
Purdue seemed to be a little sleepy after a couple nights in NYC as they played a rough first half against Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament semi-final. At one point, Purdue was shooting a chilly 41% from the field and 17% from three. But lucky for them, Tony Carr was ice cold as well and Penn State was shooting a bizarre 28% from the field but 42% from three. Yet the Lions were leading. My concern at this point was that if Purdue were playing a team that could shoot -- like, uh, Michigan -- that they’d be getting smoked. Turnovers (7 in the first half), more poor rebounding and the cold shooting did not look good.
Just before the half, though, Purdue seemed to awaken. Cline hit a triple, Carsen continued to play well and then PSU Coach Chambers drew a weirdly timed technical that allowed Purdue to get within one and then take the lead on another Boogie three to end the first half. Penn State was 4/17 inside the arc in the first half, so thanks for that Lions.
Big Ten Tournament 2018 coverage:
I continued to see people on twitter talking about how much better Nojel needs to get at this or that, but honestly, as PJ has faded down the stretch, Nojel has stepped up. It’s like PJ’s confidence was transferred to Nojel. Eastern had a couple of very aggressive rebounds in the first half -- I actually think that could become a big strength of his. And lord knows Purdue needs some reliable rebounding.
After a packed house for the Michigan-MSU game, the crowd thinned a bit but still had some vigor. It seemed loud in the first half for Penn State, though the Purdue crowd found their lungs and came to life in the second. As I tweeted to the New York Purdue Club, they better bring it tomorrow against Michigan, as their contingent was LOUD.
In that second half, there were multiple attempts by Penn State to dunk over Isaac Haas, which I just don’t get. They were not successful. Then after one of them and a made Purdue triple, Julian Moore of PSU locked arms with Ike and dragged him to the floor. It looked hella intentional but the officials decided it was the ever-popular “double technical.” Asinine.
The Boilers got it to a 15 point lead at 59-44 before allowing PSU to crawl back a bit, but then the consistently improving Boiler shooting led to a 66-50 lead with about six minutes to go (at this juncture, Purdue was up to shooting 53% from the field and 53% from three -- yet just 69% [nice] from the line).
From there, the Boilers continued to shoot better and better (except from the stripe, oddly) and Carsen continued to accept the mantle of Purdue’s star player perhaps just a little earlier than was necessary (but certainly welcome).
In the end, Purdue took a while to get going but they definitely did. Penn State, on the other hand, never really got it going. The final of 78-70 was really 78-64 before PSU hit two meaningless threes in the final ten seconds.
The Game Turned When...
There was an offensive foul by PSU with 12:13 to go and Purdue up 49-42. Penn State wound up taking a time out right at 12:00, which meant the TV timeout was next...and in between Carsen made a slick move to the basket to give the Boilers a 51-42 lead with 11:19 to go. It never got close again.
What Went Well
Dakota played his best game in a while, heating up from the field, finishing with 15 points. It was really a triumvirate of scoring prowess today as Haas added 17 on tidy 6/9 shooting and Carsen poured in 27 on 9/18 from the field, 6/9 from three and just 3/6 from the line.
Speaking of Carsen, I think for a while we may need to rename the player of the game to the Carsen of the game. Boogie is not only Purdue’s most consistent player right now, he’s also showing incredible maturity and leadership (see the gif below). He wound up with the aforementioned 27 points, four rebounds and two assists.
What Went Less Than Well
Vincent wasn’t entirely himself today, shooting just 2/9 from the field for seven points. He did, however, add five assists, a block and six rebounds, so he continues to contribute and perhaps this is just fine if Purdue is going to win comfortably and Carsen is going to fill it up. Going back to points we made when Purdue was absolutely rolling this season, these are the games that give you good feelings in terms of Purdue being hard to shut down entirely. I put Vincent in this category but really, he wasn’t bad. (Hence why it’s just titled “less than well.”)
Moving Picture Thingie of the Night
Carsen picking his moment to tell Haarms that Frankie says to relax.
Misc Observations from MSG
Dogs chasing frisbees should be the default halftime show. Don’t @ me.
This was my first media cred at MSG after attending games here for over 30 years. I got to see Doug Gottleib eat a brownie his palmed from the media snack area.
Aside from Chambers’ tech in the first half, Matty Haarms got one in the second and even the media folks right near it couldn’t figure out what he did. He went to the ground tied up with Reaves of PSU and Reaves did the spazzy little breakaway from the tie-up that indicates pissyness. Haarms must have said something because he was t-ed up very quickly.
Tony Carr had an utterly dreadful game, going 4/18 from the field for 12 points.
Penn State is currently listed on Lunardi’s Bracketology as one of the first four teams out of the tournament. With 21 wins, a 9-9 conference record and a triple-sweet of Ohio State, I feel like they should be in. I also feel like Nebraska should be in, too, so what do I know? (What I’m saying is the Big Ten isn’t that down, people.)
Next up for Purdue is a familiar foe. Purdue and Michigan played two great games against one another this season and now they'll square off for the Big Ten Tournament title. We've said for a while here at BS that we really were just fine not having to see Michigan yet again -- a sweep over them feels like quite the accomplishment. It's always hard to beat a team three times in a season, so we'll see what happens. It's tomorrow at 4:30 PM on CBS.