I volunteered to write this article as the blog’s moderators are occupied with much more important business. As an alumni and current grad student (I’m in my 9th year at Purdue) I couldn’t wait to share my thoughts on the Boilers’ huge blowout, Robbie’s new free-throw record, and the debut of freshman big man Sandi Marcius. Unfortunately, I only get to discuss one thanks to a lackluster first 20 minutes.
Seriously, who were those guys in the first half? I mean the defense was fine. I’ll take 27 points allowed per half all year. However, the offense was sputtering (11-30 in first half) to yield only 26 points and Purdue’s reputation of starting slow continues (see Tennessee, Wake Forest, Alabama, and SIU-E games).
In all honesty, it really just came down to shooting. Other than the first eight minutes or so, it wasn’t that bad. Purdue was just 3-14 during this stretch, including 0-4 from deep. Meanwhile, the Hawks were 6-10 and 3-4 from the arc. I went back and watched this portion of the game, and nothing stood out as being that bad. Purdue was playing hard, most of the shots they took were good shots, and many of the made Hawkeye baskets were challenged or difficult shots that just happened to go in.
Something clicked after that first eight minutes, and especially after halftime. I don’t know if the guys had West Virginia in the back of their minds to start the game, Coach Painter ripped them at halftime, or it was just the law of averages evening things out, but the Boilers scorched the nets in the second half, shooting over 65 percent.
In the end, Purdue ended up above their season averages from the field and the three-point line, and this game just goes to show that the defense will keep the Boilers in games regardless of their offensive performance. Painter has never seemed too concerned about shooting woes, but let’s hope Purdue starts off Friday where they ended against the Hawks and forgets the first half.
Double digit conference road wins are good no matter the opponent, so let’s not be too critical of the boys and just enjoy the winning streak.
A few random thoughts:
- Congrats to Rob on his free-throw streak record. He made his first four of the game (before missing two in a row) to set the Purdue record at 36 in a row. Jerry Sichting hit 34 in a row during the 1978-79 season. If the time gap holds true, one of my sons should break Rob’s record in about 2040.
- With JJ in foul trouble during the first half, E’Twaun and Rob were their usual productive selves. They combined for 37 points, 15 boards, 4 steals, and 4 assists.
- Too bad Marcius didn’t get any action tonight. I was hoping the game would be well in hand with 5-10 minutes in the second half and he would get some playing time, but it was not to be. I can’t imagine him seeing much action against WVU, but the Mountaineers have a talented slew of forwards and he could be valuable if JJ or Bade get in foul trouble.
- Although Marcius missed the game, Bade continues to improve. Through the first ten games, he would usually only infuriate me. However, the last two games he has really impressed. He only played 8 minutes against the Hawks, but had 5 points and a very nice block in the first half.
- I have been cheering for West Virginia to win so they would come to Mackey undefeated, and they have needed all my support lately. Three of their last four games have been decided by two points or less or in overtime. They needed a last second shot against Cleveland State to win by two, blew a big lead against Seton Hall but prevailed in overtime, and stole a win they didn’t deserve at home against Marquette thanks to some missed free throws and an awesome fade away 20-footer from Da’Sean Butler. The matchup of undefeated teams is set for New Year’s Day. With only a portion of the Paint Crew in attendance on Friday due to Christmas break, all you alumni with season tickets better be screaming your heads off with me and maybe even stand up once in a while. Let’s make Mackey crazy and BTFU!
--Guest Posted by David Stewart