Hold on, I just got called for a foul, so I need to wait for some more free throws.
Well, it wasn't the epic beatdown we were hoping for, but Purdue never trailed in a comfortable win in Assembly Hall. If we had hit our free throws (especially missing the front end of two one and ones) we probably win this game by 20 or so. Our defense throttled them into a pretty poor night offensively, but it is hard to judge when fouls on nearly every possession of the second half resulted in a foul call. It is almost like Hightower realized we were going to be done by 10:30 and had to do something about it.
I think that is the most frustrating thing about Big Ten officiating. The second half of tonight's game was called completely different than the first half, and it was bad both ways. There is no way that things changed so drastically that both teams were in the bonus with 13 minutes left. The officials in the second half were terrible on both sides. Something has to be done.
But it is over. We earned an 11 point road win in the Big Ten conference, which is tough for anyone. Just ask Michigan State at Iowa, or Illinois and Minnesota at IU. We can now put Indiana where they belong: behind us until next January or if we see them in the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.
Positives From The Second Indiana Game:
Lewis Jackson - LewJack has been a much better free throw shooter this year, so I don't know where his struggles from the line came from. I don't think we had a bigger contributor on both ends of the floor tonight. He harassed Jordan Hulls all night long and offensively he made things go. His six dimes were huge, but more importantly his calm presence in a hostile environment was even bigger. LewJack was a testament of what a Purdue player does. He scrapped for loose balls and had a big rebound late in the second half to keep a possession alive.
JaJuan Johnson - JJ was big in the opening punch when we built a 7-0 lead to make Indiana play from behind right at the beginning. He played through foul trouble and played smart late. What I like the most is that we learned to play some long stretches tonight without JJ on the floor. We built the first half lead while JJ sat with two fouls. We kept them at bay with him on the bench, then when we needed a basket we brought him back in and he dominated. Tom Pritchard is probably the happiest player in the Big Ten that JJ is graduating because it means he doesn't have to get abused by him anymore. Also, JJ was our one consistent free throw shooter.
Terone Johnson - I think it is appropriate that TJ burned IU because Crimson Quarry has used him as a constant whipping boy this season. He hasn't shot well, so TJ was a target of how Painter doesn't get a lot out of everyone as a freshman. He still needs to work on some things, but I can see him being a weapon down the stretch here.
D.J. Byrd - I love these unexpected double figures games from D.J. He always gives us good defense and fights for rebounds, but his 3-point shooting tonight made a major difference early when JJ was on the bench. He just missed out on a double-double with nine very big rebounds. Byrd is an effort guy. He's not going to be the focus of other teams, so his effort will pay off in games like this.
E`Twaun Moore - Handy tip, Crimson Guard. When you're facing a player that just dropped 38 points in a personal evisceration of one of the best teams in the country, the "Overrated" chant may not be the most appropriate thing to say. My favorite Moore moment of the night was when Gus Johnson suggested Indiana post him up. They immediately did so, only to have Smooge reject the shot, then go down bury a three-pointer. E`Twaun is getting The Look again at the right time.
First half shooting - We shot better than 61% in a road game in the first half. That's not going to happen much in this league. I really hope we didn't cool off and struggle from the line because of those damn heads they had in the student section.
Team Defense - With the offensive struggles and especially our inability to put the game away at the line I am glad we played our usual throttling defense. Indiana hit two field goals in the last 11 minutes, and both were with less than four to play and us comfortably ahead. That is credit to everyone on this roster.
Negatives from the Second Indiana Game:
Free Throws - I will say this. I would rather have a poor night from the line in a game like this than in the NCAA Tournament where it can cost us. If we hit our shots from the line tonight we win this by 20. Even more important is that two of the misses were the front end of one-and-ones. That's like four misses instead of two. Generally, we have shot well from the line this season. Unfortunately, that is the one thing we haven't been able to totally replicate from Robbie Hummel. JJ hits well and Ryne Smith has a high percentage, but everyone else goes in streaks.
Patrick Bade and Travis Carroll - I know they were limited because any touch was called a foul, but I was very concerned that we had to go with a five guard lineup for a few minutes because we couldn't trust the Hansons.
In the end, there isn't a lot to complain about when you win by 11 at a rival while not playing that well at times. Something seemed off again, and that was with us hitting 50% from the field. I think it was mostly the pace of the game that was slowed down by all the fouls.
Most importantly, we avoided a bad loss and kept pace with Ohio State in the Big Ten race. If we can win a game in East Lansing against a desperate Michigan State team I like our chances to not lose again until the Big Ten Tournament (if then). I don't see us losing at home on senior Day for JJ and E`Twaun and I don't see us losing at Iowa. We just need to take care of our business and hope Ohio State stumbles.
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