I have no full box score to refer to in this game...so I'm writing this via memory and a patchwork of the few stats that are out there floating in the ethos.
Perhaps it was the fact that Purdue was coming off of an astounding weekend of sports...perhaps everyone was anxious since BTN cameras actually were in Mackey (thanks, network)...or maybe it just wasn't Purdue's night. Regardless of the reason, Purdue deserved to lose versus High Point tonight in the arena where they went undefeated last season, but stole a victory in front of an unusually-anemic home crowd.
The game started out the way the entire contest played out- Purdue played lazy defense on one end, accepted the three pointer too easily on the other end and missed a ton of free throws in between.
Purdue didn't pressure the ball full court, LewJack, Barlow and Smith struggled against Barbour and Smith (High Point's two offensive leaders) and High Point's zone defense seemed to perplex Purdue. There's really not much more to say than that...oh, I guess there's one more thing- Ryne Smith's legs and back must be tired, because he simply carried his teammates in this one.
Smith finished with eight (8) three pointers and 26 points (and 3 reb)...and he didn't shoot that well in the first half. But, as his teammates struggled to find space against the zone, Smith caught the ball in rhythm time and time again to keep Purdue barely in the lead.
Rob played well at times too. But, late in the second half, Hummel missed three consecutive free throws (on two separate fouls) that would have given Purdue a touch of breathing room. Hummel led the team by shooting over 90% from the line a few seasons ago, and is usually flat-out clutch...but not tonight. He had one big three in which he side stepped a defender on the right side of the court and hit a 22 footer that gave Purdue a lead, but he looked clearly gassed in this one. But a gassed Rob Hummel still scores 18 points, has 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Hummel played all but a few minutes, and looked like a guy who hadn't played in that manner in a long time.
Bad Kelsey Barlow showed up in this one, especially in the first half shooting a few ill-advised three pointers...But, he made two free throws in a row- something NO OTHER Boiler did all night. A few years ago, a pal of mine called Purdue 1-for-2 U...today Purdue would have been stoked to have done that. As a team Purdue finished 6 of 19 from the stripe while High Point was 11 of 12.
Leaving 10 points on the floor is always bad...but doing so while allowing two of your opponents to light you up is worse. Every time High Point needed a bucket, their guard tandem would get it done...they combined for 31 of High Point's 65 points.
Anthony Johnson played a solid game again tonight, especially in the first half. He finished with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists in just over a half of play.
Versus Northern Illinois, Purdue looked like a team that was unstoppable...v. High Point, they looked extremely vulnerable. Last game they also seemed to have a glut of players that couldn't be kept off of the court, but tonight, Marcius, Carroll, LewJack, TJohn and Barlow all played (at times) with a malaise that made it seem like they had other things to do. Marcius had a three second violation, Carroll looked sluggish (but had some big boards down the stretch), LewJack didn't look like the quickest guy on the court and TJohn still is trying to get his legs.
Jacob Lawson looks very raw as a player, there's no doubt about it. He seems to be thinking non-stop and not just playing the game. But, in each game he'll show flashes of what will make him great at Purdue. Like last game, he had two blocked shots...one was a thing of beauty...and almost had a nasty dunk in traffic; Almost.
DJ Byrd didn't play as he was injured in the game on Friday v. NIU. He did dress and I expect him to play in PR...His energy was greatly missed.
I'm pretty sure most of the team had taken Dimetap and Benadryl along with their dinners of turkey and crusty rolls tonight because they looked sluggish...hell, even the usually-energetic Paint Crew was pretty quiet and Mackey as a whole seemed like it does during a Christmas break game.
The real positive out of this is a Senior-led team that nearly loses understands they need to improve ALOT before the next contest and play they way they're capable of playing. I think this one will play like a loss in the lockerroom tonight and into practice tonight...and I expect a different Purdue team on Thursday v. Iona in sunny Puerto Rico. The tip-off is at 1:00 and the game will be televised on EsPNU.
Duke struggled at home versus Belmont to start the season...UConn hasn't really blown either of their opponents out of the water...and both of these teams are considered the nation's elite. The important thing tonight is Purdue is 2-0...and since no one was really covering this game, no one outside of the Purdue family cares too much about anything but the end result.
If lousy basketball becomes a trend, then you can be worried...for now, we can chalk this up to a hangover of a big weekend, I guess.