After digging itself a big hole early in the BT season, Matty's squad has needed nothing but victories to stay close to the top of the conference...and this afternoon in Mackey, Ostrich and Smooge did their part to improve Purdue to 18-3.
Battle did what he could to keep the game close in the first half, and it was at the break. But, Moore and Hummel just took the game over in the first five minutes of the second half and that was all she wrote. Andrew Ott, PSU's windfall big man, was hopefully reminded about the mistake he made choosing 'Nova over Purdue a few years ago. For those of you who don't remember, Ott's Dad and brother are both alums of God's country...and his final two, back in '06, were Purdue and Villanova. I can understand choosing Villanova over Purdue- at that time as Purdue was just rebuilding and 'Nova was already a force...but, I'm OK with reminding him of what he could have been a part of each time he visits Mackey.
Purdue played sloppy and soft in the first half as PSU collapsed on Hummel and Johnson time and time again and Purdue couldn't seem to grab loose balls or rebounds. The formula of failure for Purdue seemed to be evident in the first 20 minutes- poor rebounding, mediocre shooting and a quiet JJ. But much of that changed as Purdue shot very well to open the second half, the all-around play became more sound and rebounding became respectable. After the lead swelled to 17, PSU got the game down to an 11-point gap with about ten minutes left, but with the Ostrich's return to the game, Purdue poured it on and didn't look back. Final score- good guys, 66, PSU, 46.
Anytime you can hold a BT opponent under 50, you're probably going to be successful, but this PSU team is a shadow of the National Champ team from '09. They simply lost too many parts from last year's squad and if Battle's is not on fire, their chances of winning are greatly-diminished.
Smooge had 12 effortless points, Ostrich led everybody with 23 & 6...but he had 20 at the 10:00 mark. JJ had an OK game, statistically with 13 & 6, but he looked very tired and seemed to be tossed around and beaten up a bit. I'm beginning to think that JJ almost has some sort of hypoglycemia or something like it as he just looks depleted of energy at times. He's simply too talented, to have the lapses that he seems to have as regularly as he has them...I think I'm critical of 25 because I know how much of monster he can be, both on the glass and defensively, and we haven't seen him play to his full potential in some time, in my opinion.
I was really pleased with Kramer's quick decision to shoot on a couple of instances and Barlow's ability to attack the defense and finish (although he did miss a lay-up). I also was pleased with some of what I saw from LewJack as he started to look like himself in the second half using his ball-handling ability to befuddle his defender...sure, he had two turnovers, but he's getting his legs. He also had the first serious physical contact as he set up for a charge...and got up after a second on the hardwood.
The blackout looked good on TV, but the Mackey crowd appeared to be as interested in the game as did the Nittany Lions late in the second half...the season gets more interesting this week though...as the forces of good head to Ass. Hall on Thursday and then, after a weekend break, heads to the Breslin Center on the 9th.