Boilers Grind Down Los Lobos; Improve to 8-0
The day started out really well- In a surprise from Matty, R&B legend Isaac Hayes would suit up for the Boilers posthumously. Even after death, Hayes would be a good addition to any squad- silky smooth tones, intimidating depth of voice...and the ladies who rooted for the other team would surely be too distracted to root for their squad.
Isaac Haas has had a pretty good start to the season, no doubt about it. But he won't be mistaken for that typo anytime soon. Today, the Boilers could have used the toughness of Shaft (Hayes famously sang/composed the theme song of the iconic 70s movie) as they surely couldn't shoot. The Forces of Good shot an abysmal 14.3% (3-21) from long distance...sadder still, they made two of those shots very early in the game. After that, the lid was on the rim...for ALL of Purdue's sharp shooters.
Once again, Purdue saw zone defense from their opponent...few will want to attempt to play straight up man versus Purdue's macho, large frontcourt, University of New Mexico was no different. But when UNM's 7'1" center had two fouls within the first two minutes of the game, staying packed in was really their only option...and Purdue didn't make them pay.
Big Haas and Hammons helped Purdue win the battle of attrition though.
Hammons double-double (16, 11 and 3 blocks) was impressive...but he really cleaned up the mess late in the game. Two of UNM's frontcourt players fouled out with about four minutes left, and Haas, who drew a ton of fouls today, was taking it easy on the bench. Johnny Hill and Hammons methodically made a small lead comfortable as Purdue wore down another opponent with their depth and size.
Off the bench, Hill finished with a well-rounded 13 points 4 rebounds and 4 assists...but he did a ton of little things that didn't show up in the box score. He played smart, much like he quietly has down the stretch in the close games this season...no doubt, Hill has been a steadying force for the Boilers this season. He went 5/6 from the FT line...something hardly any Purdue player did last season (save RayDay).
Haas was a big, sexy beast though. With another game that will get the attention of national media, he scored 21 points and added 6 rebounds...but his FT shooting was massive. He went 9/13 from the stripe and simply took what was given to him. His size and strength clearly had UNM thinking about how to stop him before the game even began...and the 2-headed monster of Haas and Hammons is something very few teams in the nation, if any, will be able to keep in check.
Edwards struggled today from the field, going 2/11...but more than that, he had an un-Vince-like 6 turnovers. Clearly, Edwards misses the presence of Davis in the lineup. While VE only finished with five points, he pulled down 8 big boards.
Speaking of rebounds, Purdue absolutely cleaned the glass...The Forces of Good won the rebound battle 51-28...and it's a damned good thing since they couldn't shoot. That said, shooting 75% from the free throw line while grabbing an eye-popping 50-plus rebounds is a pretty good formula for winning.
Biggie was quiet offensively, but seven rebound, 4 assists and a block (that didn't show up in the official score) is still a good day. That said, he's been bottled up a bit for a few games in a row now on offense.
Purdue won by double digits, 70-58, in spite of shooting atrociously and playing a sloppy game and pace that really favored the Lobos. Our Boilers are deep, are extremely tough, are strong and, if they can't shoot, seem to be OK with just fighting, scratching and clawing a team to death.
The next three games versus IUPUI, Howard and Youngstown State should all be won...and Painter should be able to keep Davis on the bench for at least two more games before giving him a bit of a warm-up before the short trip to Indy to play the (hopefully) ranked Bulldogs.
One interesting note, Purdue will play three games in a five day period before a week-long break prior to the Butler game...three days later, Vandy comes to town.
Purdue improves to 8-0...and might be in the top-10 for the first time since 2010, come Monday.