Saturday, January 19, 2013

50 Shades of Gray -- Boilers Manhandle WVU in Silver Unis

The love affair continues...
The Boilers penetrated the Mountaineers and forced their will upon them. WVU was pinned down all game long and, at times, maybe they liked it just a little bit. The Boilers dominated and owned the Mountaineers, and the thrashing lasted for several hours. In the end, they parted ways with little more than a bro-hug.

Sorry, that was my best attempt at a 50 Shades of Gray passage. Which, given that I've never read them but have only heard about them from my wife, I think wasn't half-bad.

The Boilermakers certainly did have their way with WVU today in West Laffy, winning 79-52 in a game that actually wasn't even that close. The Boilers got up by as many as 32 (66-34 was what I noted as the high water mark) and quite simply did a lot very well today. They played good defense, they forced the Mountaineers into shots they didn't make, they shot the ball very well, they rebounded, they moved without the ball and they didn't let up... for a change, Purdue took a big lead at the half and made it even bigger in the second half.

We've talked before about the recipe being even simpler than we often think -- shoot the ball as well as or better than the other team, make your free throws, rebound the ball and don't turn it over too much. Those are -- obviously -- always keys, but making sure you do most of them better than your opponent will almost always lead to victories.

Today, the Boilers show a tidy 49.2% from the field (to WVU's dreadful 29.3%) and a blistering 73% from three (to WVU's sickly 17%). The Boilers outrebounded WVU 39-27 and out-assisted them 17-6. The Mountaineers had more steals than the Boilers (11-6) and turnovers were almost even at 17-16. From the line, Purdue seemed to regress slightly, shooting 62% to WVU's 75%.

Purdue had a 14 point lead at the half that they quickly extended to start the second stanza and the Boilermakers truly never looked back. Once the game was way out of hand, Coach Painter began giving lesser-used guys more minutes and ultimately emptied the bench at the end. Neal Beshears had a three attempt miss but Dru Anthrop drained his.

The Boilers did a nice job of spreading the scoring around today, with four players getting into double figures. Byrd led the way with 17 points on 5/8 from the field, 4/6 from three and 3/3 from the line. He also had five rebounds, four assists and a steal, if you're into that sort of complete game.

Raphael Davis continued to mature before our eyes and had 16 points on 5/6 shooting, including 2/2 from long range, and 4/6 from the line.

Anthony Johnson had 12 points off the bench on 5/9 shooting and 2/3 from the line, and Terone had 11 points on 5/9 shooting.

It wasn't all roses for the Boilers as AJ Hammons had an off-day, scoring just four points on 2/6 shooting from the field. He did contribute with five rebounds and three blocks, though. I'll chalk this up to the fact that Purdue's shooters were shooting and AJ's inside presence wasn't as needed today, but I hope to see him continue to clean up with 18-20 point games as we go through the Big Ten season.

There will be those who disparage this win for Purdue, since WVU is clearly not having a typical Bob Huggins type season. However, you play the games on your schedule and, like it or not, this is a team from a power conference. Purdue now has this decisive home court win to go along with their beatdown of Clemson in December and a win over a top 11 team in Illinois earlier this month. The Boilers are clearly growing up and playing better basketball together and it's something you can see every game. The confidence among these guys is also growing and it's enjoyable to watch. It might still be hard to dream of playing in the tourney, but Purdue is winning games this month that they would have lost last month and now even blowing teams out once in a while.

Next up, their toughest test yet, as the Boilers travel to Ann Arbor to play #5 Michigan.

Choo-choo. The train is coming.


John Voliva said...

Couple things I was impressed with:

D came to play again

O -- both motion offense and the transition game. Both were clicking today, especially after the 10 minute mark of the first half.

We had lots o' points in the paint -- I think it wasn't really as much that Hammons had a bad game, it seemed more the Huggins went out of this way to game plan against him. This opened up chances for the rest of the squad - with 36 of the 79 coming from the paint.

Still got to work on FTs. But, as I texted my dad throughout the game -- This game most definitely looked like a L a month ago. With a 27 point beatdown, what a difference a month makes!

Rob Darnell said...

I agree, this team is growing up before our eyes. I like that it's a team effort too. When your worst performance is from AJ Hammons, who is clearly one of your best young players you have to be impressed. Am I drinking the kool aid that this team will win the B10, no. But I will say that no matter what tournament the Boilers are in (NIT or NCAA), they will be a tough out. And next year looks so promising with this team a year older and another solid recruiting class for Coach Painter. I like what I am seeing and proud to say BOILERUP!

Pierce Roe said...

What a solid game. Really wishing we could have those Nova and EMU games back now, though.

zlionsfan said...

West Virginia is terrible this year, but ... they nearly beat a pretty good Iowa State team on the road (lost 69-67), only lost by 15 to Michigan at a neutral site, and lost by 7 (neutral) and 10 (at home) to Oklahoma.

Yes, they can't hit whatever metaphor you want to use for a basket ... but Purdue's defense still held them to their second-lowest point total of the season (behind a 50-point effort they managed at Gonzaga to open the season).

There's something to be said for blowing out a bad team. This is the third time the Boilers have brought Pete's hammer down on a bad team (Hofstra and UNC-Wilmington) ... if nothing else, these games lay the foundation for next year's team, showing the new guys that Painter knows what he's doing and that his system works (if they had any doubts - sometimes a bad season will create those).

Who knows? Maybe this game will give them a little something else against, say, Indiana or Michigan State ... or in the final conference week at home against Michigan and Minnesota. A couple of upsets could push them into .500 territory, which at worst would mean the NIT, and you never know - a .500 conference record this year would make Purdue's numbers look really good. People complain about mediocre at-large teams from big conferences all the time. Maybe this year, they'll be complaining about the Big Ten.

And a Purdue team that sneaks into the tournament would be a tough out, especially if you've noticed how weak the non-elites are, the section below the teams with a clear shot at #1: Missouri lost by 31 at Florida, San Diego State scored 9 points in the first half of a loss at Wyoming, Marquette had 13 at halftime of a loss to Cincinnati. Those are a few teams who could end up on the line opposite where Purdue would be.

Anonymous said...

We need to win the next 3 games. Boiler up!!!

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