Washington State 69, Purdue 54

Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Boilers continue to struggle in Orlando with second-half struggle against Cougars.

Purdue just lost to a team it had no business losing to. Or, I guess I should say a team we thought Purdue had no business losing to. We may have overrated the Boilers a bit.

Washington State came into the game at 2-3, having lost three straight games. Purdue was coming off its first loss of the season, but even in that fans had SOME hope to cling to after watching the Boilers battle back against the No. 5 team in the nation.

The Boilers came out fairly strong in the first half, holding Washington State to 22 percent from the field and just six field goals while rolling to a 27-17 halftime lead. The Boilers showed intensity on D and hit their shots on offense. Heck, they even hit 100-percent of their free throws in the half! That's 4-4, but whatever. It's 100 percent. Count it.

That's where the good times stopped. Purdue came out from half and blew their 10 point lead in what felt like seconds. Purdue was outscored 52-27 in the second half. It was miserable. The guards and wings continuously lost their men on the perimeter. When the ball went inside, A.J. Hammons was dominated by a guy with Derek Elston-looking tattoos. All this allowed WSU to go 19-29 (65.5 perent) from the field.

Purdue, meanwhile, seemed to forget what offense was at their end of the court. The Boilers went 9-36 from the field (a glamorous 25 percent). I can't recall an offensive set being run in the last eight minutes of the game, resulting in Hammons and Jay Simpson combining for three field goal attempts in the game.

Meanwhile, brothers Johnson went a combined 9-27 from the field with three assists. Bryson Scott added four makes on 13 tries, with two assists and five turnovers, to bring Purdue's point guard totals to 8-26 from the field with four assists and six turnovers.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not pinning this loss on three guys. I can't think of a single Purdue player that I came away from this game impressed with.

Hammons finally looked aggressive in spurts, but that was when Purdue was rotating him and Simpson about every three minutes. In the second half, that plan went out the door and we went back to watching him stand around and reach for things (his man, the ball, etc.).

I guess we should be glad to make it out of a game with no ejections, nobody fouling out and no injuries?

Oh, I've got the positive. Purdue was 10-12 from the free-throw line. Boom. You guys wanted FT success, the boys delivered. Now we can all go about the rest of our days with smiles on our faces.

Purdue will play the loser of Siena and St. Joesph's on ESPN3 (Woo!) Sunday at 5 p.m.

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