This Just In: Winning Better Than Losing

J did a solid job (as usual) summing up the game, but I wanted to add a "boots on the ground" look at this Veteran's Day game.

Our pal Ed gave me his tickets and I got to take my Dad, which was great on a bunch of levels.  First, they saluted the veterans a few times before the game and had a giant flag on the court to differentiate this national anthem v. a typical game at Mackey (I believe I saw a few members of the Reamer Club holding the flag?).  My Dad lost his hearing while training to become a helicopter pilot for Vietnam and as a result, spent his time serving in Okinawa.  I wasn't brave enough to do what my Dad or Grandfathers did, so I love having the chance to thank my Dad each Vets' Day.

On a much less-important, but still special note, my Dad attended the first game in Mackey v. UCLA...and they asked all the people who were at that game to stand; so he got honored a second time, which was pretty nifty.

The game went according to Morgan Burke's script (with probably one exception) for the two-day celebration of the re-dedication of the freshly-modernized Mackey Arena.

-Both Burke and Cordova were met with some boos when they were announced at halftime.

-The Paint Crew sounded pretty loud in spite of being split and separated...and the contest was far from riveting.

-The rich guy black seats were 40-50% empty well into the first half...and were almost completely empty at the half when the '66 team was honored.

-I was hoping Keady would be there, but he wasn't...and the event wasn't as big as I thought it'd be.  Perhaps it's because there was stuff last night, but the extra-large ticket made me think this night was a bigger deal than the Athletic Department made it.

-Hummel got to score the first official points in the renovated building...which I think everyone from Matty to the six year old across the aisle from me wanted to see.  The only non-storybook part of that was it took a few shots before the first bucket fell.  After that, Purdue got out to a 21-3 lead (I believe) before UNI understood that warm-ups were over.

-The Huskies looked much worse than the D-II teams that had visited Mackey in the last week and one half.  That could be because Painter didn't mess around the with line-ups as much or because Purdue was playing with sharper intent or because they were just that bad.  Afterall, Purdue was favored by 26.

So if before the game I'd have said I'd give you 50...55...60 points and NIU, you'd be foolish to not take the bet...or would you? I'm pretty sure Purdue wouldn't beat them that badly if the two matched up 10 more times...but I also don't know if NIU could beat Purdue in ten games either, and that says a lot.

-As J said, the Forces of Good hit a ton of threes...but LewJack missed a few deep balls that were all but down and rattled out; same goes for Smith.  One thing I took away fromt he game in person was that even when this team isn't hitting, they were taking good-looking shots, and most seemed with in the system of the offense.

-I counted at least 6 missed layups by our Boilers as a 10 minute period in the first half. And only one of those was contended.  So Purdue probably should have been up by 8 or more points at the end of the half.  In the second half, they seemed more determined and focused on finishing strong.  Specifically, Barlow and Marcius flexed some muscle while fighting through contact close to the basket.

-I was sure that Lawson would be the guy that redshirted this year...but it looks like it'll be Hale.  I haven't read anything about this yet*, but the thought process must come down to physicality and Hale not being able to hold his ground v. a B1G PF or center.

Lawson checked in early and played quite a few minutes- 17 to be exact...and he seemed to understand what he was there to do- play defense and clean the glass. He tied TJohn and Marcius with 5 boards.  He also had two blocked shots and altered another, had a steal and used up 4 of his fouls.  He's raw, no doubt, but he's a physical force that will reek havoc and create problems for opponents...especially as he gets into better shape and the offensive game starts making a bit more sense to him.

-Hummel's 21 points were silky smooth as he looked poised and healthy.  He played a few more minutes than I would have liked, but still only played 20.

-Barlow played aggressively on both ends of the court, which is great.  But my favorite stat of his was his 8-for-8 freethrow performance.  That could be important as the year goes on.

-Anthony Johnson is aggressive and athletic and an instant injection of energy, especially on offense.

-TJohn played much better in this game than in the last exhibition game...but still doesn't look to be quite in the shape he was last year after December.  But his stat line is a thing of beauty- 12pts/5reb/4ast/1stl in 21 minutes.

-Ryne Smith needs to pull the trigger a bit more from behind the arc.  His patented pump fake was in full-effect tonight, but that guy does everything to make the guys around him better- scraps for loose balls, moves without the ball and is always looking to get people involved.

-LewJack's 5 assists are a good number, but 3 TOs to go along with that definitely isn't great.  I love watching him play though because his hands and feet are so much quicker than most of the people on the court...few can match his pace.

-The crowd loves Marcius, Byrd and AJ because of their aggressive play.  Mackey fans love scrappy's the Purdue way.

Next up, Purdue plays a school that I know nothing about, High Point, at 7:30 on BTN on Monday.  But sadly, tonight's contest won't be the last in which you'll have to watch your favorite team on the tiny screen.

*Addendum: Lawson and his Dad both told Painter they didn't want Jacob to redshirt...and Painter likes to make the decision one that is not forced on a player...So Lawson is playing this season- ready or not. And conversely, it looks like Hale probably will...probably.

Boilers Follow Up Mackey Re-Dedication With Re-Dedication To Kicking Ass, 96-34

It Begins Tonight