Monday, January 28, 2013

Basketball Recap: Purdue 65 - Iowa 62

A snoozer on a lazy Sunday afternoon in West Lafayette turned into a thriller, as Purdue pulled off a huge win over the Hawkeyes to effectively keep postseason hopes alive (where have we heard that before?).  While the first half rivaled the ugliness of the game against Eastern Michigan (who made some headlines of their own this weekend), the second half and overtime was some of the most exciting basketball of the year.
Hammons had 3 blocks but it felt more like 15

Iowa has made a habit of second half comebacks this year, so it was no surprise that an 11-point Purdue lead disappeared in a matter of minutes.  What WAS a surprise was that Purdue was able to tie the game inside of 35-seconds, seeing that they've failed in their other opportunities this year when trailing by 3 or less at the end of the game.  Matt Painter drew up a great play around an inside screen by Hammons, and Terone Johnson made a layup that was more reminiscent of a team being down 10 with a minute to go ("quick two and then foul!") than a game-tying layup.  It's hard to believe Iowa gave up such an easy shot on their biggest defensive possession.  Regardless, I loved seeing the Boilers attack the rim with a set play as opposed to the typical running, floating prayer that gets blocked by a 6'2" guard.

A couple of observations from the game:

- DONNIE HALE!  The guy who announcers refuse to call by anything other than his full name had a breakout game yesterday. 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 0 turnovers in 29 minutes. Yes that last one's not a typo, he played 29 MINUTES as Matt Painter loved the hustle Hale was showing out there.  With this game by Hale, all 4 freshmen have had at least one game this year showing some major potential.  This class is going to be fun to watch...

Not sure what Hale's other hand is doing, but after the game he played, he gets to do whatever he wants.
- Melsahn Basabe had a 5 minute stretch in which he looked like the best player in the conference.  From the 1 minute mark of regulation to just under 1 minute left in overtime, Basabe was a monster with 5 points, 4 rebounds, and a block.  He also nearly tipped in the game-winner at the end of regulation.  I have no idea why we couldn't box him out, but he was single-handedly keeping Iowa in the game.  Thank goodness he didn't play that way the whole game, otherwise it would have been tough to overcome an extrapolated 45 point, 36 rebound, and 9 block effort by the big man.

- I can't tell you how many times I yelled at my tv, begging Ronnie Johnson to not take another shot (actually, he was 6-12, so I probably said it 6 times).  But man he was good in overtime with two huge floaters.  Add that to the fact that the Johnson brothers committed 1 turnover in 78 total minutes of play, and I can live with some dumb, forced shots (especially if Ronnie ends up shooting 50%!).  We keep saying it time and time again...this team has a bright future with Ronnie at the point.

- The Hawkeyes looked like they were going to steal the victory from the line as Roy Marble got ready to shoot his second free throw up 2 with 47 seconds left.  Iowa was 18 for 22 at this point from the line (Marble was 8 for 8), and everyone knows that Purdue turns into a bunch of Mexican jumping beans when down 3 points with less than a minute to go.  You know how this turned out. Marble missed, Terone got his easy layup, and Iowa would finish the game hitting 1 of its last 5 free throws.  Sure, Purdue only shot 60% from the line, but they generally hit them when they counted.  You can't say the same about the Hawkeyes.

It may not have been the prettiest game you've ever seen, but it sets up a huge showdown with the Hoosiers on Wednesday.  If the Boilers can sneak out of that one with a win, all the sudden you're looking at 2 winnable road games (Penn State and Northwestern) before returning home against Michigan State.  If the Boilers are 6-4 (or dare we say 7-3) in the Big Ten heading into that game, expect the Saturday night crowd to be rocking with March Madness becoming more than a glimmer of hope in the distance.

Let's get ready for Wednesday...BOILER UP!!!

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