Unusually-frigid 30 degree temperatures (pssst- that's sarcasm), and fantastic Black Friday sale prices kept the Purdue alums in Chicago away from the Sears Center this evening...but poor attendance and a small-time feel of the Chicago Invitational didn't stop Matty's boys from opening a can...at least for a half. And those who did brave the barely-freezing temps to see their Boilers play, got to see Smooge get silly.
In the first ten minutes, much like in the Oakland game, JJ and Smooge simply weren't making any noise at all. But, after starting the game like JMoney circa 2010, Moore went all 1996-JMoney-in-the-co-rec on the unfortunate Salukis as he went 9-for-9 in around 32 minutes while scoring a career high 31 points and added 9 rebounds. JJ had 18 points and 3 blocks...but a very-unimpressive 4 rebounds.
And speaking of rebounds, outside of Smooge, really no one rebounded well...Bade had 2, Marcius had 2, Carrol had 1 and Byrd crashed the glass for 4. But somehow, the Boilers 30 rebounds were 6 more than the lackluster SIU squad.
LewJack had a couple of nifty finishes early in the game (he finished with 8 points) as JJ and Smooge were awakening from their late-evening naps...and Byrd tried to keep Purdue close as he had 9 points and 3 assists. But the first 16 minutes of the game were very ugly for Purdue as our Boilers had their first lead of the game at around the 17 minute mark.
This game kind of felt like one from two seasons ago as the offense was simply AWOL...but the defense still frustrated Southern Illinois. A combination of pestering defense and really poor ball handling led SIU to turn it over 25 times.
Other than Moore's unconscious second half, there isn't a ton to talk about- Purdue seemed a bit sluggish and disinterested, but still beat an out-manned opponent by 19 points. Smith, Hart and Bade all seemed to be having a contest to see who could play the quietest game...they all won...or lost depending on your perspective. The officials were AWESOME as they made sure everyone noticed them by blowing their damned whistles every 7 or 8 seconds, regardless of who had the ball. The carnage left four Boilers with four personal fouls and both teams with 24 total. The good news from this was that our Boilers shot 80% from the stripe, which is an improvement over much of this season.
Next up, Purdue plays Richmond tomorrow night on BTN at 7:30. Richmond has a winning record...unlike any of Purdue's opponents thus far.