Icy Boilers Lose 63-57

The Boilers failed to exact revenge on the thuggish Xavier Musketeers today in West Lafayette, suffering yet another bitter defeat, 63-57. Purdue played a hard-fought game, at least it felt like to me, and powered through some poor shooting and lulls in their offensive output to continue to overtake Xavier and keep it a tight game. But in the end, the Boilers went a whopping 0-for-17 from beyond the arc and fell by a mere six points.

This is unconfirmed (because Mike Hall of BTN said it), but Mike Hall said that this is the first time a Matt Painter coached Purdue team has failed to hit a three. And did they ever fail to hit threes.

DJ Byrd alone was 0/9 from long range and he did not take any shots from short range. He also was 0/1 from the line to cap a stinky day for him, one game after hitting six treys and ringing up 22 points on the road at Clemson. Hard to figure, but he's streaky.

That said, even with DJ's goose egg in 32 minutes of action, this game was well within Purdue's grasp. The Boilers led 29-26 at the half after closing the first on a 27-15 run. They weren't doing anything fancy on offense, but they were pulling down offensive rebounds and they were, at the time, making their free throws. How many times in the JJ/E'Twaun/Hummel years did we long for the Boilers to get better at rebounding? Well, here they are, a seemingly good offensive rebounding team.... and they still have trouble with free throws and suddenly don't hit threes anymore.

I saw some anger towards DJ on twitter and if you want to be mad at him, hey, he's a big boy, he's a senior, that sometimes comes with the territory of being a leader. However, I am fairly sure nobody is going to be tougher on Byrd than himself so go easy on the guy. He was also the subject of another atrocious refereeing call (welcome to Mackey, Bo Boroski!) that could have still salvaged this game for the Boilers.

In the final minute, with Purdue trailing by five, Jacob Lawson went to the line. He made the first one to cut it to four and then missed the second. There was a tangle of bodies hitting the floor and then Terone nailed a bank shot to apparently cut it down to a two point game. Ah, but know, DJ Byrd was called for the foul, the two points were wiped off the board and the thugs Musketeers came to the other end to shoot free throws and ice the game.Of course replays showed that Byrd was literally dragged to the ground by an Xavier thug/forward. Nice work, as always, officials.

While I'd love to blame this game on the officials, this loss was not on them the way it was vs Nova in New York. The Boilers had a chance just before this, when they had also cut the lead to two and had the ball. Terone strangely chose to dish to Lawson who was loping down the court to go get into position. Lawson tried a couple moves and -- almost predictably -- traveled with it and turned it back over. This play and the Byrd foul negating the Terone bucket are what really sealed this. You can't have those things happen AND shoot terribly AND not make critical free throws and still win. They did give it a decent shot, though.

This team is still growing up and having a game where little is going right and one of your leaders is ice cold is one of those things a maturing team has to learn how to overcome. They had as good a chance as X did tonight, but they didn't hit the buckets when they mattered most and the ex-cons err, I mean, Xavier did. 

Terone was the leading scorer with a solid 19 point, 10 rebound double-double. Ronnie was the other Boiler in double figures with 12. Hale had a nice 18 minutes, scoring eight points with five rebounds (four offensive). The Boilers grabbed 38 rebounds (to 26) with 15 being offensive rebounds (to 3 for X).

Overall, I felt like the Boilers did some good things in this game and, despite DJ's struggles and the collective iciness from long range, made this is a close game and in fact for a while made it seem like it was theirs. But in the end, it's just another loss and the Boilers are now at an ugly 3-4, with a 2-2 mark at home.

Next up, a winnable game versus Lamar on Tuesday night, followed by a road game to the MAC to take on Eastern Michigan (who is 5-1) next Saturday. Despite being MACtion, that game on the road will test the Boilers mettle. After that, the Boilers have a week off before facing the hated Irish in Indianapolis.

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