Last season, Purdue was knocked out of the BT tourney in historically-bad fashion as they lost by 27 points to Minnesota. In that game, Purdue barely showed a pulse offensively while allowing nearly 40 points in the first half. The game was over at the break.
This game was similar in its end result...but probably worse. Tonight, the nation put much of its attention on the match-up that many thought would be a real test for the number 1-ranked Buckeyes. They were never tested. From the beginning, aOSU shot its way in the lead while simply stifling Purdue's offense.
The Discount Arena is a pro-style building...and at times, it looked like Matta's pros were playing a high school team.
Gone was Purdue's team defense that cuts off passing lanes, denies entry passes and defends nearly every look. In its place, was a team of Boilers that looked confused about their assignments, couldn't switch as the Buckeyes drove in and kicked out, and couldn't defend three.
After being down 17 just after the ten-minute mark in the first half, it only got worse. Matta's club entered the second half with a 20-point lead and it swelled to 29 before Matta and Painter seemingly tipped their caps to each other and pulled their leading scorers with around 10:00 left. Purdue ended up losing 87-64...but it felt much worse (and could have been).
JJ was effective at times, but couldn't match the physicality or moxy of Sullinger. On more than one occasion, Sullinger threw a hard elbow to get around the slighter Johnson only to see the refs whistle Johnson for the foul. JJ was probably Purdue's most-effective rebounder, and he wasn't very effective. He finished with 7 rebounds to go along with his 22 points.
I'd love to tell you Johnson was a bright spot on a gloomy day. But, I'd bet 25 thinks about this evening like I do- that it was flat-out ugly for everybody. The Buckeyes, and specifically their Freshman made a mockery of Purdue, and the worst part is Purdue did NOTHING to stop it. Our Boilers had no toughness from the starters, no goon off the bench to use up some fouls, no grit to dig in and fight back, no strategy to counter the onslaught. Purdue merely whimpered, put its tail between its legs and crawled out of the arena, thoroughly and completely beaten.
Purdue was out of sync in about every way on both ends of the court. Ohio State was motivated and sharp while Purdue looked over-matched, listless, slow and most-painfully soft. I'm not going to talk about individuals outside of Johnson simply because I might say something that I wouldn't usually say. This was a bad night, and while I hated what I saw, I still love the guys on this team.
Matty's Boilers can rule out receiving any respect from the national media during the remainder of the season...Simply because respect should be earned. Purdue was tested and they failed in a massive way. And this game, while it's just one loss, is a huge blow to what this team really wanted to do this season. As a result of tonight, they might have a very hard time getting a high seed in the tournament and they'll have to do more from this point forward to be put in a position for success in March.
The Wofford game, in the Freshman season of the then Baby Boilers, became a watershed moment and rally cry for Matty and the staff. The only positive that could come out of a collapse like this, is if it becomes the same.
Next up, Matty's boys return to the friendly confines to face Minnesota...and hopefully take out some of their angst on the 18th-ranked Gophers.
Gigantic Portobello Mushrooms.