Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Boilers Run out of Gas In Spite of TJohn's Heroics

Best shot of the night: Three Purdue legends, GRob, Cardinal and Keady
enjoying the game together
As a fan, I wondered if Purdue would take any of the momentum from the Wisconsin game into tonight's guy did...but the rest...not so much.  Sandi started Purdue off right by scoring our Boilers' first 7 points...but in that same period, TJohn and RonJohn seemed to be sleep walking.  The good guys had an astounding amount of turnovers in the first four minutes. Lazy passing and head down dribbling gave Michigan gift after gift...and UM jumped out to an early lead.

Purdue was down by 12 at the half way point of the first half and UM was in control.  But after a lil' time on the pine, TJohn's head got screwed on straight, Chooch continued to spark the Boilers and RayDay showed again what might be next season. Within four minutes of gametime, it was a four point four more minutes, Matty's boys had the lead.

Purdue was playing a higher level of basketball for the second-straight half versus one of the nation's best...with a lot left to play for.  Wisconsin was a better match-up for Purdue; kinda always have been, the way they slug teams into submission, but UM's horses; at least two NBA players on the current roster, seemed shocked by Purdue's effort, active hands and tight defense; something that had been lacking for much of the season.

After the four point halftime lead became 12 at nearly the midway point of the second half, UM gained composure and calmly started chipping away.

Marcius' ability to get difficult rebounds and come up with loose balls, Davis' big play capability, RonJohn's vision and quickness and TJohn's will tonight were noteworthy.  But when Marcius rolled his ankle badly, Purdue lost steam...and as UM's athletes started making plays and big shots, you could feel the air go out of the building a bit.  Much like in the first UM game, Michigan took it at Purdue and started getting calls...specifically, Burke drew a ton of fouls in the closing minutes; some legit, some simply protecting the All-American. But Purdue wasn't helping itself and just couldn't keep up with Burke's quickness.

Much like Purdue's first half, Michigan fought back and took the lead in the closing minutes; around the 4:00 mark in fact...Purdue got it back seconds after. But one minute later, Michigan took a lead that they didn't relinquish. TJohn did everything humanly possible to keep it close, and unlike the game in Crisler, poor officiating and general adversity didn't cause Purdue to fold like one of J Money's fine Italian made suits.  Instead, it was at least interesting until the closing moments, but UM's Burke did what he did v. MSU earlier in the week and simply closed the game out by making plays.

Final score: 80-75

I'll be honest, seeing and hearing a raucous Mackey Arena and a Purdue team that fights is good for my soul.  My son's basketball team's schedule forced me to give up my tickets to tonight's game...but as Purdue played yet another good game, I bargained with the basketball gods- I'd sacrifice being there if these guys played like this each game. Sure, my attendance, or lack there of had nothing to do with it, but it felt like it did (I also couldn't make the Illinois game).

Hammons continued to struggle.  A few weeks ago, if I told you that Marcius rolling his ankle would be a killer for this team, you'd call me as crazy as Tom Crean after a Red Bull.  But Marcius' injury was huge because Hammons had that same look in his eyes that he had v. Wisconsin; distant, tired, passionless.  The dude has more talent and God-given gifts than anyone on the team, but can't put together a five minute run of solid effort right now; tough to watch. His sub finished with 13 points and 5 the same amount of time (18 mins) that he got 5 points, 4 rebounds.

Byrd's up and down season continued- after his most-complete game and definitely his best half of the season, he went 1-7 from the field and finished with just 3 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. UM double teamed him a lot and made shutting him down a focus of their defense...and it almost killed them. As they sagged off of 21, TJohn was going crazy: Game high, career high, 32 points on 12 of 17 shooting (3/5 from deep), and he added 7 rebounds and 3 assists.

His brother played pretty damned well too and matched one of the nation's best PGs' quickness at times.  He had 7 assists and just one turnover...but the TO came in the closing minutes as he looked for his brother on the left wing in an attempt to tie the game.  I really wanted to see Byrd get a shot as UM had started focusing on TJohnson, especially since Byrd had just hit his first three, but it didn't happen.  Te'Ron's assist:TO ratio the last two games has been 5:1...definitely showing growth.
RayDay doing the little things...
RayDay had a great closing 10 minutes of the first half and was one of the catalysts of the comeback.  He finished with 15 points, 9 rebounds, a steal and a block.

I asked, wished actually, for Purdue to give themselves something to build on for next season...and they've done that the last few games.  They've shown that the scrappiness is still alive in the program, that there is talent in the stable and that there is a reason to be, at minimum, cautiously optimistic for what's coming late next fall.

With this loss, Purdue drops to two games below an NIT birth is a bit of a pipe dream.  Purdue is now locked into playing the 11:00 am game next Thursday versus either Minny or Illinois...their second round opponent is still very much up in the air depending on what happens this weekend (I believe*).

Next up, Minnesota at high noon on Saturday.  Hopefully Byrd can get back on track and go out with a big game on Senior Day.
TJohn's Herculean effort not enough

*Read Z's post from earlier for more info

Credit AP's AJ Mast and Getty Images for all photos


zlionsfan said...

I could be wrong, but I believe Minnesota's loss to Nebraska (oh yes they did) keeps Purdue's slim hopes for sixth alive ... yes, they have to beat Minnesota and get help from Nebraska and Ohio State, but it could still happen.

It was nice to see a really strong effort from a sub-.500 team against a top-10 team, but on the other hand, this game was winnable, and the Boilers let it get away. It'll be a learning experience (hopefully), but sometimes it's nicer to learn from a big win.

QuadBoiler said...

I have to say I disagree with your comment about Hammons today. I thought the same thing at the start but I think he really got into it in the second half. Maybe the standing o's Sandi was getting lit a small fire under his butt. Anyway, he was running the floor, playing solid defense, and even dove on the floor to go after a loose ball. His offense was less than stellar today and he had a bad shot or two but overall I would say he was much improved this game compared to Sunday in Madison.

Row Boilers said...

Over the last 7 minutes we got 1 stop. Michigan scored on every other possession. They hit 1 of 2 FT twice and hit two 3s so they averaged 2 points on the 14 possessions they scored and went scoreless once. Tough to win with that defense.

Game turned for Michigan when Chooch rolled his ankle.

The league has all scouted Hammons now and they all have a big guy who can handle him. He is not getting the ball as deep as he needs to but he keeps tossing up shots or turning it over when he tries to maneuver for space to get off a shot. His misses are total clanks now. If he did enough other stuff, like mop up the boards, shut down their big and clean up guards driving to the hoop he could still add value, but he does not do enough of those things.

Ego - early in the year he was our only hope on offense some nights, there was talk of his potential (Dakich is not talking of him being BIG 10 player of the year any more), and now Chooch has overshadowed him. Last night he came in after riding the pine and took an 18 footer 10 seconds into the possession, came out at the next whistle. He needs to work at being part of the team and finding something positive he can contribute.

Kodiak33 said...

Dakich still talked about Hammons being a potential B1G POY during the Wisky game, so I don't know where that came from.

WinamacBoiler said...

There's something to be said for playing hard. Imagine had Hammons flubbed that pass at the end of the game. The fanbase would be up in arms. But Tj, after the effort he put in and the results he delivered for 39 minutes and 57 seconds, you can't help but just feel bad for the kid.

Mark said...

Hammons played hard. People are confusing shots going in for 'good shot' and 'care'.

He simply missed shots he normally makes. If you look at his shot chart, nearly all are bunnies. He just missed them.

jbrunner said...

Kodiak33- I heard those comments and I believe Dakich was talking exclusively about the potential Hammons has IF he works hard. Whether or not he does that consistently has yet to be seen.

J Money said...

I kind of thought the turnover on the final possession was more on Ronnie than Terone. Yes, Terone should corral it, but Ronnie also needs to know his brother's moves -- it looked like Terone was caught in between steps as the laser-like pass arrived.

Kodiak33 said...

jbrunner - well he's right about that

Boilergal said...

I agree, J. I thought the pass was too fast and not delivered where it needed to be. Seemed like a freshman mistake, getting a bit ahead of himself.

WinamacBoiler said...

Flubbed is not correct. You're right. All I mean is it's unfortunate that whether it was his fault or not the cameras were on the guy receiving the ball. He played his heart out and delivered a stellar game, it's just too bad the mainstream media will remember it for the last three seconds. I'm proud of the guy and feel bad for thekid in that way. As for AJ, I agree some of it was just missed shots, and that's okay in a freshman. But I just can't get myself to a point where I believe he's putting his all in every game. He's way too talented to be this inconsistent in his effort. Missed shots I expect. Inconsistent effort I do not.

Row Boilers said...

Last 10 sec - does anybody else wish Byrd had kept the rebound and brought it up himself? Ronnie is not a threat from 3, he HAS to pass it somewhere. If Byrd brings it up someone has to stop his dribble 5ft past the 3-line because he can hit it from there. He can look to get a screen or draw a defender off TJ. For Ronnie's pass, even if TJ catches it there is a defender a foot from him already, what is he going to do with it?

Mommatried said...

I think Hammons played like a freshmen. Not a FOY or any other accoladed anything...just a true freshmen. His posts moves and footwork were solid...his shots were rushed. He didn't have his usual touch- but if he did he is probably looking at 12 plus points for the game.

Byrd doesn't have to score 20 for us to win. 10-12 with key spot 3s will keep the defenses honest.

Rayday was huge but disappeared the last 10 minutes of play. You lose just about every game where you give up 50 points in a half.

Mommatried said...

I think Hammons played like a freshmen. Not a FOY or any other accoladed anything...just a true freshmen. His posts moves and footwork were solid...his shots were rushed. He didn't have his usual touch- but if he did he is probably looking at 12 plus points for the game.

Byrd doesn't have to score 20 for us to win. 10-12 with key spot 3s will keep the defenses honest.

Rayday was huge but disappeared the last 10 minutes of play. You lose just about every game where you give up 50 points in a half.

zlionsfan said...

The idea behind having a 3-point shooter bring the ball up makes sense to me. From what I read (unable to watch because Virginia Beach is ACC country, so pretty much everything was UNC-Virginia), in last night's game, that wouldn't have been Byrd anyway - had he brought up the ball, Stauskas probably would have been all over him at half-court.

So then I'd probably want Terone with the ball. But if Burke is guarding him, I maybe don't want him bringing it upcourt. (Keith Appling.) Except ... when Byrd is having an off night, that that pretty much leaves Davis.

The problem with having a PG who is not at all an outside threat is those situations: either you have a non-PG bringing it up, or you get a 4-on-5 situation. I feel like I've seen enough basketball to know what I'd prefer, but with this team, I can't say.

Kyle Price said...

Byrd and Hammmons were a combined 2-13 from the field and we lost by 5. Do the math. Also, anyone not named RayD, TJ, or Sandi combined for 12% shooting from the field. Pathetic. There are small town kids all over this state who can shoot lights out when setup at the three point line FIND ONE! I would rather watch any walk-on currently riding the bench play over the D2-talent that is Anthony Johnson. I loved to see the fight return to this team. Its too bad it took this long but I would love to see us give some teams problems in the B10 Tournament. Boiler UP!

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