They're Not Boilermakers...They're Boiler-Advancers
Photo Cred: Indy Star
Early Friday morning, your Boilers capped off a mostly-uneventful first day of the 2019 NCAA tournament by winning a rockfight versus ODU, 61-48. The most important part is they won so we can all enjoy watching basketball tomorrow with smiles on our faces. We don’t have to think about the fact that our Boilers nearly wasted a 20 point lead to a team that can’t shoot the basketball. Even though, they kinda blew a sizable lead by not scoring for seven minutes.
Purdue looked bad in the first half, but so did ODU. BUT, with about five minutes left in the first half, Purdue played really good basketball for about five minutes. They moved the ball well on offense and took good shots- that led to points. On the other end of the floor, they clamped down the defense as Haarms made everything difficult for ODU players attempting to shoot from their comfort zone (in the lane). And as a result, Purdue took a 13 point lead into the locker room…to see their pal Jelly, who hadn’t been on the floor at all in the first half.
As Purdue left the court, the play-by-play guy, who I don’t know, and won’t know, made one of the worst premeditated calls I’ve ever heard. “They’re not just Boiler-shooters, they’re Boiler-makers.”
What the hell did he just say? Not only did he say it, he put thought into that and waited for the perfect moment to unleash it on the world. Well played, guy that I won’t mention by name. Playing nightcap game often results in a lesser broadcast team…my Christmas wish is that we won’t have to endure this team again on Saturday night when Purdue plays a road game v. Nova.
Oh back to the Nojel Eastern sublplot, there’s that, you know, question, “Why does God hate Purdue basketball?” It’s a fair question. Seemed like it tonight.
The XL Center in Hartford, CT is where Purdue played tonight. It’s also where UConn and some lesser hockey teams play some games. Those teams play on ice…that’s beneath the basketball court. This happens at a lot of places…usually it doesn’t matter. This evening, a pal of mine, who was in the arena tonight watched Nojel Eastern slip and twist his ankle mere moments before the game was about to tip off…and he texted me updates as Nojel Eastern disappeared to the lockeroom. Some others in the arena said the condensation on the court, from the ice might have been why Jelly slipped…I can’t confirm. I also can’t confirm if God actually likes Purdue’s basketball team. I can confirm that one of the refs did not…might talk about that in a bit.
So the sturdy, durable Nojel Eastern, a stalwart in Purdue’s starting lineup was ‘on ice’ before the game began. Eric Hunter got his first start…and played hard, played well and played within himself. Eastern eventually played, late in the game at a speed that looked like it fit well, within the framework of this game.
It wasn’t fun to watch.
Think about the IU game at Ass. Hall, or that PSU game, or that Illinois game…take your pick. Bad Purdue was in the building. Good thing they played a team not made for scoring a bunch of points. But think about it, neither are any of the teams that I mentioned. As teams got down in the slop, especially down the stretch, this Purdue squad struggled to get into offensive rhythm…this wasn’t new.
Boogie led all scorers with 26 points. He shot a not-so-good 30% from the field…his team tore it up though…37%. I said it wasn’t fun to watch, I wasn’t kidding. Edwards was 4/12 from three, but going 8/9 from the FT line was kinda important. In fact, down the stretch, Edwards drove as his teammates stood around and watched and got to the freethrow line. It helped seal a game that didn’t feel awesome in the closing minutes. Edwards kept TOs down (2), and grabbed a team-high-tying seven boards.
The lead shrank from 20 points down to single digits, and the bang-up broadcasting crew sang the praises of the Monarchs. They shot a blistering 27% from the field. Ugly. But much of the reason they shot so poorly is that they are a poor-shooting team…and Purdue forced them to shoot from the perimeter.
Matt Haarms frustrated them…and pissed off this one official. Early in the game, Haarms had a rare 1.5 seconds in the lane violation. It drew a warning from the same official as he admonished Paint after the reaction to the dog poop call. Later in the game, Haarms had two clean blocks in a single ODU possession, the second one was called a foul by this official who’s bad at his job. Haarms pumped his fist, and got T’d up. The four point possession helped shrink Purdue’s lead.
I love Matt Haarms. He was important today, as he’s been all during the second half of the season.
He finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and a technical foul.
After that, everyone was in single digits. I think I said this, it wasn’t fun to watch…except the end…the very end. When Purdue was declared the winner by TKO (61-48).
Survive and advance.
I haven’t read anything about the game yet, it’s 1:00a. But I’d bet Eastern will give it a go versus Nova. Purdue will tip off at 8:40pm…which is better than 10:13 (adjusted tip-off tonight). It’ll be hostile and most of the basketball world thinks Purdue is done winning tournament games this year.
Prove them (and some of us) wrong, Boilers.
You know we’re not big about conference loyalty…BUT, we are big about loyalty to Purdue. The B1G was 5-0 in its first five games in the tournament. So that kinds looks like the computers that thought the conference was good, were correct…And…I just checked with the BS Analytics Desk, Purdue won a share of the conference title. So Purdue is good at basketball, even though they haven’t looked great at it in the last month.
At the same time, the Big East looks like dogmeat for the most part…and Nova is from that conference.
Just saying. Screw the critics, go win and get to the second weekend, gents.