It took a little bit of time tonight, but the Boilers used their size, strength, and depth to wear down the Leathernecks tonight. They came to play early and even opened up an eight point lead that had us all worried, but a 15-2 run late in the first half put Purdue in front for good thanks to the defense creating offense. It looked like bad Purdue was going to show up, but after about 12 minute good Purdue, the one that actually plays defense, took over.
After that, Western Illinois did not have much of a chance without their two best players in Ceola Clark III and Terell Parks. By the second half you could tell that Sandi Marcius and A.J. Hammons had just worn them down. If Purdue is playing defense, hitting better than 58% from the field, and is a surprising 12 of 13 from the line it is very, very difficult to lose.
The final numbers tell the tale of an efficient Purdue offense. Purdue was 58.5% from the floor, over 90% from the line, and got threes from Rapheal Davis, D.J. Byrd, Terone Johnson, and even Donnie Hale to go 7 for 11 from long range. Had Jacob Lawson not jacked up an ugly three late the percentage would have been even better.
Western Illinois got what it needed to at least stay competitive as guys like Remy Roberts-Burnett and Don McAvoy III were hot early, but again, they had a short bench because of their injuries. Michael Ochereobia had no chance to defend Chooch and Hammons for 40 minutes. Those two combined for 23 points and Purdue was in firm control once they realized that there was no defense for going down low. That opened up the perimeter too, as Ronnie Johnson was hitting the midrange game and Byrd added three more triple in the second half.
Also, something must be said about the all-around game from senior Dru Anthrop. He had to have a career high with 24 minutes and finished 2 for 2 from the floor with four points, six rebounds (four offensive), four assists, three steals, and a blocked shot. Don't tell him these games don't mean anything. Yes, his career is down to game-to-game, but if he can lead by example the rest of the way and impart some lessons on the returning players he is worth playing.
Finally, we have to congratulate John McKeeman. He is the mysterious No. 2 on the roster that got into the game late. He is a practice player that first dressed vs. Michigan and tonight he saw his first career action, so good for him.
Purdue now moves on to face Santa Clara on Monday night. I don't know if it will be at Mackey or in California, but I would bet it is in Mackey because we still covered the cost to host tonight and Santa Clara barely had over 1,000 vs. Vermont last night. After tonight the CBI will be down to eight teams. George Mason and Wyoming also won. Here are the rest of tonight's games:
Wright State 72, Tulsa 52 - The Raiders won with ease at home behind a 40 point second half. Kendall Griffin was big for them int he first half, but the ESPN box score stopped at halftime.
Western Michigan 72, North Dakota State 71 (OT) - Connar Tava hit two free throws with 13 seconds left and Taylor Braun missed twice in the last four seconds as the Broncos pulled off a last-minute win in overtime. Tava also blocked Braun's last attempt at the buzzer. TrayVonn Wright had 23 for WMU.
Houston 73, Texas 72 - The other team with a losing record in this tournament bows out to in-state rival Houston. The Cougars got a jumper from Danuel House with 17 seconds left, then a steal by Jherrod Stiggers with a second left to pull off the win. Julien Lewis had 27 for the Longhorns.
CBI Tournament Quarterfinals
Monday, March 25
Santa Clara at Purdue 7pm
Houston at George Mason
Richmond at Wright State 7pm
Western Michigan at Wyoming
(Purdue, George Mason, Wright State, and Wyoming are all listing these as home games so far on their official sites.)