Sunday, December 9, 2012

Basketball Recap: Eastern Michigan 47 - Purdue 44

Well, I'm glad it's over.  For those that watched the game, you know what I mean...if I had to hear "If you think running a restaurant is hard, try running 4" one more time, I was going to take my Chase Ink card, cut it in two, and throw it Chinese star-style at the heads of the two fools on my computer screen who starred in the commercial that played TWICE every commercial break.  I'm glad the game's over too.

It had to have been the worst game I've seen since Purdue's 40-39 loss to Northwestern in 2004.  How can a team that dominates Clemson on the road end up looking this bad in front of 37 people in Ypsilanti?

The final stats say that Purdue lost the turnover battle 18-4.  I'm surprised it was that close.  First off, the Boilers forced 4 turnovers against a team who committed 17 turnovers against Syracuse IN THE FIRST HALF!  Sure the Eagles were shooting poorly, but it really wasn't because of great defense.  Instead, EMU missed wide-open shot after wide-open shot in the first half.  However, enough shots fell in the second half as the Eagles never had to worry about a potential steal.

Then there was the offense.  The Boilers attempted only 47 shots all game.  In comparison, they took 62 against Lamar and 60 against Xavier.  In such a slow game, you can't afford to turn it over.  Perhaps that's why the 18 turnovers seemed like 30.  Regardless, I expect practice to be pretty rough this week.

This section might be mislabeled.  Yes, when you shoot under 30%, you probably put up a lot of bricks.   However the most frustrating thing was how many missed shots there were from inside the paint.  While Hammons seemed to have a ton of these, this was never more evident than late in the game when Ronnie Johnson came in a got a huge offensive rebound.  Instead of setting himself and going back up with it or dishing it outside to find someone who's surely open, Johnson took one step and threw up a prayer as if the shot clock was running out.  This "prayer" hit the underside of the rim and got fumbled out of bounds.  Ronnie has a lot of potential, but I'd be ok if I never see anything like that again.

Uh, actually I have nothing to complain about.  In fact, I felt the officials FAVORED Purdue.  With 30 seconds left and down 2, Purdue forced EMU to miss a shot, but the rebound was batted out of bounds by Hammons.  Somehow, the referee gods finally looked down on us and gave the Boilers the ball.  There were several calls that I thought went Purdue's way - this one was the biggest and gave Purdue a chance to tie the game and force overtime.  Because of course you don't need to go for the win - when you're playing an inferior team, you want to extend the game as long as possible.  The Eagles' offense looked so bad in the last 4 minutes, I don't think anyone thought they could pull it out in overtime.  Plus, you never want this team shooting a 3-pointer.  So, just get it down to Hammons, crash the boards, and...

A THREE????????
Out of a timeout??????  No no no no no no no!  Did Terone have a good look?  I guess.  Did you ever think it was going to go in?  No.

You know the rest of the story. The Boilers actually still had a chance to tie it with a three on the next possession, yet turned it over before they even had a chance to shoot it.  Of course.  What a fitting way to end this game.  And all 17 members of EMU's student section rushed the court.

The 17-man student section rushes the court.
Byrd Followup
Loyal readers may remember my recap which referred to DJ Byrd's struggles with non-animal teams.   It's rare that I'm wrong (as evidenced by my now 10-1 record against the spread in Purdue games this year), so I was surprised to see Byrd struggle against the Cardinals and the Eagles.  So, I looked back on Byrd's game log and realized I had been on the right path.  DJ Byrd only performs well against non-human MAMMALS.  He apparently doesn't like attacking fellow birds either.

In games where DJ has faced a team with a non-human mammal in their nickname (Bison, Wildcats, Beavers, Tigers), he's made at least 4 field goals and averaged over 15 points per game.  In the 5 other games, he's made no more than 2 field goals and averaged less than 4 points per game.  I'm not looking forward to the matchup against the Irish next week...

Standings Update
Both Kirk and I got the winner wrong but the spread right.  I move to 10-1, eclipsed the $200 mark, and have built a $310 lead.  Meanwhile Kirk moves to a respectable 4-7.

Erik +201
Kirk -109

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