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...
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.|
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...
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.