One thing I've taken from being a Cleveland and Purdue sports fan is that things are rarely as bad as they seem. I've seen A LOT of bad. Right now may seem like one of the worst times that Purdue basketball fans can remember, however we have to realize that Purdue lost two games they were supposed to lose. The Boilers' top scorer was sick enough to be quarantined from the team and missed practice last week, and we played two teams that couldn't miss from the field. Yes, some of it was bad defense, but at the same time, you're NOT going to beat a top 5 team that shoots 49% from the field and 95% from the free throw line. And you're NOT going to beat a team on the road that shoots 53% from the field and turns the ball over 5 times. I don't care if you're playing the Little Sisters of the Poor.
|This shot probably went in.|
Reggie Hearn started the game 9 for 9 and pretty much buried the Boilermakers by halftime. Down 21 with under 13 minutes to go, Purdue finally showed some life, putting up a rare 7-point play (the only bad thing about 7-point plays is that they're almost always accompanied by multiple missed free throws...I guess that makes Purdue one of the most likely teams in the nation to pull this feat off!). The possession was followed up by a Ronnie Johnson layup, and Purdue had nearly cut the lead in half in less than 2 minutes of play. Unfortunately Jared Swopshire hit a big three and the Boilers would go 5 minutes without making another field goal. During that drought, Purdue had a 2 minute stretch in which they took 1 shot. Awful.
There's not much else to say about the game. AJ Hammons once again put up some huge numbers and somehow won Big Ten Freshman of the Week, even though Purdue had one of their worst weeks in recent memory. Interestingly, the team seems to do better when Hammons doesn't put up big numbers, showing we can't rely on the big guy to carry us. The Boilers still have several signature games left on the calendar, but they're going to need some confidence in order to compete. That confidence will hopefully start tomorrow in Happy Valley.