Unlike in the loss versus Northwestern, Purdue seemed to fight and play hard...but the discrepancy between Prudue and MSU at this point is not a gap, but a chasm. MSU has a system that the players buy into...and they have a ton of size, athleticism and talent.
Purdue continues to look discombobulated...has no chemistry or cohesion and a bunch of players wearing the same jersey who really aren't on the same team.
On a night that Robbie Hummel's number was put in the rafters of Mackey alongside Moore's, and Darrell Hazell was introduced to the fans, students and alums, the Mackey crowd was lackluster...but I'm not so sure I could blame them on this night.
Much like IU, UM, aOSU and even Northwestern last week, Purdue just doesn't look like it belongs with many of the teams in the B1G this season. Like I said, at least the effort was better overall, but Purdue isn't very good right now. Jacob Lawson, who hadn't played in the last few games played two minutes; which was good to see...Hale played solidly...Marcius played with energy, used his fouls up quickly (7 minutes, 5 fouls). RonJohn's 15pts, 8ast and 3steals were solid offensively, but he struggled mightily to slow down Appling. Hammons 13pts and 8 rebounds were solid, but he seemed to force his shots early. TJohn's 20 points led all Boilers...but Purdue couldn't really get the game into single digits for the majority of the second half. It was like MSU would just bat Purdue away if they got it down to 13...The final score of 78 to 65 really doesn't indicate how much command of the game that MSU had.
DJ Byrd attempted just one shot...and was in foul trouble for most of the game. His last foul and subsequent body language afterward showed his agitation with the game. MSU dictated the physicality of the game, the officials dictated how much they'd allow Purdue to do...and Purdue just kinda went along with it. Poor free throw shooting (just under 65%) made a difference in this one...but if Purdue had been making FTs, I feel like MSU would have just done something differently to push the game back out to a 15 point lead (or something close to it).
Purdue only shot 5 three pointers...and it's a good thing- they went 1 for 5. This Purdue team continues to be defined by poor shooting, regardless of the situation, awful offensive flow, mediocre defense and, at least they have this, solid rebounding.
With this loss, Purdue slips back to the familiar .500 (12-12)...but don't get comfortable with that fellow Boiler fans- the way this team is playing right now, they'll probably finish 5 or six games under .500. At this point, Purdue is what they are...and I don't know if I've ever said this sentence in my life- it would take a miracle for our Boilers to make the NIT.
Purdue travels to Assembly Hall this week to play an Illinois team that really wants to break their 8-game losing streak v. the Boilers...then on to Ass. Hall to play a horribly-coached and amazingly-talented squad.
Seasons like this have consequences...They're tough on the fanbase, coaching staff and team. Rumors are swirling about the futures of a couple of the players on the team. I've said it before, I'd like to see everyone return...But only if they're willing to buy into the system and work in the off-season. EVERYONE has work to do on this roster...and if they're not willing to do it, they should think about heading somewhere else. But if they use these ass kickings as learning opportunities, good things can happen in '13/'14.
That's a tough concept to swallow for a ton of reasons- First off, DJ Byrd's career is not going to end anything like many thought it would...that's too bad; I like Byrd and wish things were different for a myriad of reasons. BUT, if TJohn thinks that this will be his team just because he's a Senior next year, he needs to learn from what he's watched up close this year.
Little things like missing free throws send a bad message to under classmen...if 0 wants things to get back on track for the program, he needs to start doing little things now. That's a tall order for a guy whose effort (specifically on defense) has been inconsistent.
I feel like I'm being pretty damned negative- those of you who are reading probably didn't enjoy reading it anymore than I enjoyed writing it...and apologize for that. But this season has been a tough one to watch.
Keep your heads up.