It wasn't a perfect game, but Purdue (4-0) took care of business against Austin Peay, winning comfortably 87-65. The Boilermakers will play Southern Illinois (1-2) in the Chicago Challenge Invitational championship Friday night.
After a mildly sluggish first half, Purdue extended the 10 point halftime lead to 15 in the first 45 seconds of the second half and never looked back.
Tonight's game continued to reinforce the notion that Purdue's bench contributions are not a fluke. The bench added 31 points led by Ryne Smith and Kelsey Barlow (11 and 9 points respectively). Purdue also continued their hot shooting, as they hit 46.4% from the floor. They also won the rebounding battle 37-31.
Unfortunately, things were far from perfect. For every SportsCenter worthy highlight Purdue produced, there was a missed layup or turnover to negate it. The Boilermakers will have plenty to review during their film session tomorrow morning. They also continued to shoot poorly from the charity stripe, making only 14-24. This is something that needs to be rectified before we head into conference play.
Matt Painter showcased a new starting lineup as he added D.J. Byrd and Terone Johnson and subsequently had Ryne Smith and Patrick Bade coming off the bench. Time will tell if this new lineup will hold up, but I thought everyone played better in their new roles.
All and all Purdue was never in any real danger, but it never felt like a blowout. But considering that AP shot nearly 51% from the floor, you have to appreciate the outcome.
Here are a few additional Unsolicited Observations:
- D.J. Byrd's impact - The kid impacts the game in so many different areas it's unreal. He has a knack for getting his hand on loose balls and swatting at shots that don't make it to the box score. But his 10 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal did. He is turning into a glue guy that is holding the team together.
- New Starting Lineup - I really like what D.J. Byrd and Terone Johnson bring to the starting lineup. They add strength and aggressiveness on the defense end and bring some extra elements to the offense that Bade and Smith are simply not capable of. Terone Johnson still needs to get comfortable in the lineup, but still played pretty well. He is showing a knack for pulling up for the midrange floater or driving and drawing the foul. Johnson ended with 7 points, 3 assists, and 2 rebounds.
- All-Americans Gettin' It Done - E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson pretty much scored at will after they found their shot. I would like to submit my vote to keep JJ down low as he's virtually unstoppable near the rim. His missed three-point attempt was pretty...ugly...and his jump shot was just not falling. On the upside, his added strength was on showcase tonight. He's now finishing his dunks with the defense hanging all over him. JJ finished with 21 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 blocks. Moore ended with 17 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals.
- GDB - He failed to live up his name yet again as he played nearly flawless basketball (zero TO's). I'll say it...he played some great basketball. He gave the AP guards fits and walked away with 3 steals. He also had an impressive game offensively as he did a great job taking the ball to the hoop. He finished with 9 points on 4-5 shooting.
- John Hart - Hart had a quiet game in 14 minutes. He played some great defense, which is often overlooked. You know Hart is having a great year when 5 points seems like an off night. His fake behind the back layup was SportsCenter worthy, but it was quickly negated by his botched dunk a few plays later.
- Teamball - 24 assists on 32 made field goals. Gotta love the teamwork.
- Ryne Smith - Dude looks much more confident coming off the bench. I dub thee a bench threat for this season! There - it's a done deal.
- Unselfishness - Lewis Jackson failed to take a single field goal attempt but dished out 9 assists and grabbed 3 rebounds in 25 minutes. He thrives in a zone, but he had 3 TO's.
- Bigs - Travis Carroll and Sandi Marcius played a combined 14 minutes and grabbed 6 rebounds and zero points. Travis Carroll breakaway layup attempt was rather comical. Hope he learned the value of passing. Marcius missed a few easy shots under the rim. We got a taste of the rawness that we all expected to see. But experience makes perfect.
- ESPN3 - I guess I appreciate watching the game on the computer if there is no other alternative, but tonight's game was unbearable. Looking passed the poor quality, the announcers were very sub-par and clearly had never looked at a Purdue roster in their life. Life is tough when following a top-10 team...