Biggie and Boogie Deliver, Purdue Wins At Maryland 73-72
Starters: PJ Thompson, Carsen Edwards, Dakota Mathias, Vince Edwards, Caleb Swanigan
Finishers: PJ Thompson, Carsen Edwards, Ryan Cline, Vince Edwards, Isaac Haas
Feature image from @BigTenNetwork
Mad shouts to @bigtengeeks for all the GIFs
I’m still shaking, that’s what freaking happened. After trailing for 97.5% of the game (check those analyticzzz), Purdue left College Park with a victory over #17 Maryland, 73-72.
Let’s get this out of the way: Purdue didn’t play well. Purdue shot 38% from the field (27% from three in the first half), Vince Edwards was held scoreless in 27 minutes, Purdue’s shot selection was pretty poor, defensive rotations were slow all game, and Maryland got fantastic games from Melo Trimble/Kevin Huerter/Michal Cekovsky/Damonte Dodd.
And yet…the good guys are bringing home their most impressive victory of the season.
The first 8 minutes of the game saw all of 8 Purdue points, frustrating turnovers, and an insistence on shooting contested jumpers. True to Maryland’s style this year, the Terrapins weren’t particularly flashy but capitalized on every Purdue missed opportunity. Purdue didn’t start to fire back until they attacked Maryland’s frontcourt with both Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan. Their fight for rebounds against Dodd and Cekovsky left me exhausted, and all I did was eat a gallon of hummus on my couch.
Purdue kept the game close by playing through Swanigan, who (as usual) balanced a few frustrating post turnovers with his demoralizing combination of strength and skill. Two post moves, in particular, highlighted just how unstoppable he is when he’s not forcing shots: a jump hook (and-one) at the 12:55 mark, and a brutally quick face-up drive:
Biggie gets the ball along the baseline, a little further out than usual. Then, in a single blurred movement, he faces up, drives, stays low, pump fakes, and draws the and-one after nailing a reverse layup.
This dude is so good.
A pair of threes from Dakota Mathias and PJ Thompson, along with Carsen Edwards’ incessant bucket-getting, kept Purdue close going into halftime. Carsen, in particular, was relentlessly attacking during the first half (sometimes to his detriment), keeping Purdue’s energy up despite their struggles to take the lead. Look at how smooth Carsen is against three defenders in the fast break, and keep in mind this happened *right after* he intercepted a Trimble pass:
That positive momentum, though, didn’t carry through into the second half, as Trimble and the apparently unstoppable Cekovsky decided to take over. Within 6 minutes of gameplay, Trimble logged half a dozen hockey assists, Cekovsky blocked every Purdue attempt in the paint, Purdue was down 52-40. The game seemed out of hand, and slumped shoulders during a few awful defensive possessions pointed towards the game being over (the Huerter dunk with 14 minutes to play, a result of Vince’s minimal on-ball pressure and Ryan Cline *ahem* falling asleep, particularly stands out).
But four plays turned the tide for Purdue:
The first was Cline drilling an off-balance three, after Biggie got him a little daylight on a baseline inbounds set. Purdue cut Maryland’s lead to nine with 12 minutes to play.
Mathias drilled a long three on the very next play, cutting the lead to 6.
Then, in my estimation, the most important basket of the night: After trading misses, First Team All-American, Big Ten Player of the Year, and National Player of the Year candidate Caleb Swanigan refused to allow Purdue to squander that mini-run:
Keep in mind: Dodd was rejecting everything inside, and did a tremendous job contesting that bunny hook. But Swanigan got the shot off, and our Boilers found themselves right back in the game with 10 minutes left to play. Without this bucket, Maryland pulls away.
For the next 8 minutes, Biggie Swanigan put on a clinic. He tied the game with a three. He blocked Melo Trimble at the rim. (He forced a few shots through double-teams, but we’ll talk about that in a second.) HE VOLLEYBALL TAPPED A REBOUND OUT TO PJ THOMPSON FOR A WIDE OPEN, GAME-TYING THREE SERIOUSLY GO WATCH THE GIF OF THE NIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST. He hit this three on a beautifully executed pick-and-pop to keep Purdue in the game:
All things are possible through Biggie.
Meanwhile, Maryland kept pace because Melo Trimble watched a whole bunch of James Harden. His elite ballhandling, confidence driving to the rim, and unmatched neck throwbackability led to an astounding ***15*** second half free throws (he’d make 14 of them). For the last 7 minutes of the game, Maryland scored 14 points without making a single field goal.
Biggie fouled out on that Trimble flail. Yet, somehow, all of us at BS felt like Purdue could still pull this off.
The game was over when…
…the final whistle blew. Seriously, the final 15 seconds might have taken a few years off every Purdue fan’s life.
After Isaac hit two free throws to cut Maryland’s lead to 1, PJ *perfectly* defends Melo Trimble as he left a teardrop runner on the front rim.
Carsen led the break, got into the paint, had a great look at the basket…and someone called a timeout.
I can’t tell if Painter or Vince is to blame, but to their credit:
Painter went right back to his freshman guard.
Purdue pulled out a win because this team is undeniably talented, with its’ shooters rallying in the second half (6-11 from beyond the arc) to cut into Maryland’s double digit lead. But maybe, just maybe, Swanigan fouling out after rallying the team back was a good thing. Down one, with 6 seconds to go, Purdue trusted a well-practiced out of bounds play, complete with on-ball screens and shooters waiting for the kick out. An actual play, because the temptation to go to a Swanigan post isolation was removed.
Boogie Edwards nailed the two free throws, Isaac Haas stole the inbounds pass, and the game was over. Right?
NOPE WE GOTTA MAKE THINGS DIFFICULT. The refs called Haas for the travel with 0.5 seconds left (though the call wasn’t made until 0.1 was left on the clock), and Huerter missed a wide-open look as time expired.
Whew. Sorry, that was a long one. But Purdue walked away with one of their most impressive, resume-building victories of the season.
Player of the Game:
As usual, let’s just acknowledge Caleb Swanigan’s 26 points, 10 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 blocks, and only 3 turnovers in 34 minutes. He’s the best forward in America, and Purdue’s best player since Glenn Robinson.
But Carsen Edwards gets this game ball. He scored 10 first half points to keep Purdue in the game, and drew the final foul (and sunk the free throws!) to give Purdue the one point victory. When the game was on the line, Painter went to Carsen. It was a play for the future, as Boilerdowd predicts the team next year will take shape with his attitude. I can’t wait until he puts up like 40 points during a tournament game.
We know Melo Trimble is good, so let’s point out Maryland’s “others” that had great games. Cekovsky is a 7’1” Slovakian behemoth that did a tremendous job bodying up Haas and Swanigan on the glass. Dodd might have grabbed 452 offensive rebounds, and (because the refs weren’t calling any fouls on Purdue’s end of the court) was allowed to play really physical defense against Swanigan and Vince [check this play, we saw a version of that block ~14 times]. The freshman Huerter is a deadeye shooter, moves unbelievably well without the ball, and at 6’7” has the frame to develop into a dangerous player down the road.
Running an actual play with the game on the line, instead of Swanigan forcing a post iso through a double (or triple) team.
Ok now that I said that, let’s just remember that Caleb Swanigan is so damn good and perfect and incredible and I hope he stays forever because I’m not sure we’ll see a better player in black and gold for a few decades.
PJ Thompson continues to be absolutely perfect. Though he didn’t log an assist tonight, he had a handful of hockey assists, grabbed 5 rebounds, committed 0 turnovers, and hit a pair of clutch threes to keep Purdue’s run going. I would die for two-star PJ Thompson.
“Purdue refuses to defend the perimeter” is a very dumb, overly simplistic way of looking at poor perimeter rotations. Unless you think Purdue wings are actively allowing open threes, try to tweet something more constructive.
Now, if we diagnose the issue, the problem arises with 1) a lack of wings with a combination of lateral quickness and length, and 2) a lack of communication on pick-and-pops beyond the arc. This is a real issue for Swanigan, Vince, and Carsen defensively, and Huerter made them pay. Thankfully, nobody else on Maryland could sink a three tonight, but against a team with more shooters it will be a point of improvement.
Being a referee is a very hard, thankless job. When you do your job well, precisely zero people notice. But, let’s say, when you consistently fall for the Melo Trimble head-snap to draw a phantom foul, or continuously let Isaac Haas be mauled by smaller defenders, or botch the last play of a one-point game, people are going to point you out.
Helping the helper seems to be a defensive concept that doesn’t come very naturally for Purdue’s defensive scheme this year, which is a pretty significant departure from previous years. I counted four lobs allowed because Purdue didn’t rotate on the weak side to compensate for the rim protector.
Purdue’s defensive metrics are miraculously good this season, but flaws like this will be attacked in March.
Spike Albrecht played 8 minutes (four each half), took one shot, and was slow on defense. He’s got to be in the eight-man rotation, because Basil Smotherman transferring and Jacquil Taylor’s injury leaves only walk-ons below that, but woo boy he looks a couple steps slow.
Definitely not Isaac Haas, who is a devastatingly handsome man, yet Maryland’s student section kept chanting “you are ugly” whenever he’d touch the ball. Never doubt Isaac’s handsomeness.
Vince Edwards found ways to contribute (8 rebounds and 3 assists) despite not putting a single point on the board. Vince didn’t draw a free throw, and seemed to get his hustle back only after Purdue’s second half run began. As the President of the VINCE Fan Club, it’s been really disappointing to see him stagnate (and regress to a 3rd or 4th option offensively). But Purdue doesn’t win this game if Vince sits, so we’ll keep him out of The Bad section for now.
Moving Picture Thingy of the Night:
Not even close, best play of the afternoon. Trimble lunged for the steal against Carsen, who put up a nice floater after keeping Melo on his back shoulder. It banked out, and Biggie tipped the ball DIRECTLY INTO PJ THOMPSON’S SHOOTING POCKET FOR A THREE THAT GAVE PURDUE ITS FIRST LEAD OF THE GAME.
I thought the tip was accidental, a byproduct of Biggie’s relentless hustle on the glass. But then I saw the replay: Biggie was looking *directly at PJ the whole time*, and basically delivered a pinpoint two-handed overhead kickout in midair. Biggie is perfect, PJ is perfect, everything is perfect, I love this team very very much even when they play below their potential.
Tweet of the night: