Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Boilers Come Up Short in Fight in Columbus: 87-84

Painter seemed more pointed and honest in his interviews following the loss v. IU: Purdue had lost its will and fight during the course of the season...and he wanted to see that change.

Coming into this game, I was all but positive that aOSU's horses would be able to push Purdue around and simply pound them into submission...but Purdue played their best two halves of the season and nearly found a way to beat the Nuts at home for the second time in two years.

Smith and LewJack didn't start; I presume as a message to the two that poor effort would yield consequence...and the team responded to the idea.  Purdue played crisp, disciplined and tough (after a slow start).  While they were out-rebounded, they weren't out-hustled...and offensively, a few guys reminded us just why we're so pissed off that this team hasn't won more games this year.

Byrd looked determined and looked for his shot...at the half, he was near his career high with 17 points.  He finished with 24 points and 6 rebounds while going 7/9 from three.  Kelsey Barlow took advantage of his length and size against Craft all day.  He drove and finished strong and didn't accept easy threes...And finished with 14pts, 3ast and 2 steals...and one of those finishes was one of the best dunks of the college basketball season as he and Sullinger got intimate.



LewJack had 14 and 4...and doesn't get a lot of calls while driving. But when he did tonight, he hit is free throws (6-6)...and the Boilers shot 68% from the stripe; better than many nights this season.  Hummel finished with 13 and 8...but got cold down the stretch and Smith finished with 9 and was 2/3 from three.

Let's make no bones about it, it's always tough to win on the road in the B1G.  The hostile crowd and even more-hostile officiating are two things you can count on while away from home.  The Discount Arena hasn't seen a visitor leave with a victory since our Boilers did it in '10...and they nearly did it again tonight by playing like they needed it; which they did.  But in spite of playing their best two consecutive halves of the season, The Forces of Good came up short.  But if they play with the focus, effort and fight we saw tonight, they'll finish this season with some big wins; which they simply must earn to get into the dance.

My thought is that Matty's squad must beat the teams they should (Northwestern, Nebraska and Penn State) then steal one from one of the ranked opponents to get into the dance.  Granted, there's no guaranteed formula...but 19 wins out of the B1G and a .500 record in conference will probably get the job done.

There are no moral victories...but perhaps Matty can point to this one to remind the team that they can play with anyone in the nation when they play the game the right way...which they simply haven't done for much of the season.

Next up, Northwestern comes to Mackey on Sunday.

13 comments:

mwilson0701 said...

You summed it up. This is exactly why this season has been so frustrating.

Obviously it's difficult and unrealistic to count on the production from 3 point range every night, but tonight showed a blue print for how this team needs to attack on defense and play a more active and intense brand of basketball. The basketball that put the program on the map the last 5 seasons.

When playing like it can and should they are capable of pushing the top teams in the conference and maybe country.

There is no team remaining on the schedule that they can't beat if they play the way they played tonight.

Ken said...

OSU fan here.

VERY impressed with Purdue tonight.Great hustle and some lights out shooting. Good luck rest of season, and post-season.

COD said...

Is the team better off as a one and done in the NCAA, or as a potential winner of the NIT?

Alec said...

@Ken - lights out dunking too. Well, at least Sullinger probably thought somebody turned the lights out when Barlow's crotch was in his face! (but seriously, good game... hope you guys represent the B1G well the rest of the season)

@COD - With 65 teams (or is it 66 now?), I can't see them being seeded no lower than 10 (assuming they finish the season out strong), so they have a very good chance of at least going to the second round. I'd take that versus a worthless NIT run. I only see that being good to get experience for a young team.

Plang said...

68% from the charity stripe...
If it was 75% they could have won, or at least made it much more interesting. It completely baffles me why guys can't do better with free throws. These are the things that win games, not dunks that involve schwetty balls in the face.

Erin said...

The last couple of years, I would have walked away from this game so disapointed in the loss. This year, I walked away feeling positive that the loss was only 3 to OSU in Columbus. What a difference a year makes.

Mark said...

I felt like LewLack and Smith didn't respond. Byrd and Barlow responded. I Can't figure out how Byrd hasn't started all season...been saying it since day 1!

boilerdowd said...

LewJack played smarter and more under control...and his stat sheet shows it.

Mommatried said...

Purdue basketball on the map the last 5 years? There is a bit of history in this program- some guy named John Wooden even played here. We've had success the last 5 years...but we've been on the map for basketball...well, we have more conference titles than any other school in the BIG 10 and we are founding member of the conference. I don't have to lay it out anymore do I?

S

Erin said...

Someone correct me if I am wrong in this stat - but I saw that Purdue holds the win record with every team in the Big Ten...until the loss to OSU - that series is now tied.

mwilson0701 said...

@mommatried - Of course there is some history to the program. I was referencing being 'back on the map' in terms of going from a program that averaged under 14 wins per season from 00-01 to 05-06 and won 1 NCAA tournament game to a program that has averaged just under 26 wins per season from 06-07 to 10-11 and is recruiting at a high level and in the mix to recruit at an even higher level.

Big Dog and Co. had Purdue riding high in the mid-90s but it is undeniable the program fell off to some extent in between. It's also undeniable that the Baby Boilers and the brand of basketball they became known for elevated the program to another level.

Mommatried said...

@mwilson- I agree with you have said here. Its just- when it comes to Purdue basketball we are disrespected and disregarded by major media outlets annually. That is bullshit. We play the role of underdog well- but we are an elite basketball program- period. True we had a fall off and we are playing more competitively. This year is a classic example- while there have been some glaring breakdowns throughout the season- we are still a 9 loss team so far. Michigan has 7 losses and is in the top 25. The sky is not falling. We are not dead in the water. The program is not stale and Matt Painter has not lost his edge. Some games have gone the way they should, some games have gone exactly as they should- and in others we've surprised some pretty good teams when facing them. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and realize that this team can STILL improve, the commits for next year are strong- and we will continue to do what we do. The adversity faced this season will serve the youth of this team well in the years to come.

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