As I have said several times already, there were few times where Purdue played team basketball and looked like it was having fun last year. The result was several close games that should never have been close, like a one-point victory over D-I newcomer Northern Kentucky on opening night.
Tonight against Samford we saw the complete opposite. Purdue had 21 assists on 26 made field goals, every scholarship player short of P.J. Thompson scored, and finally, we played TEAM basketball. Yes, it was against an over-matched opponent, but we have to go back to that Northern Kentucky game a year ago. Against the Norse Purdue was disjointed at best and barely pulled it out. Tonight everyone was on the same page, even Jon Octeus, who has barely had a month to get used to being in West Lafayette.
Let's look at each player:
Vince Edwards - The freshman was very impressive in his debut with 13 points, 8 rebounds, and two assists. He also started for the first time. If he can regularly put up those numbers he is going to be a massive addition. It looks like Painter's persistence paid off in going after him as a priority in the 2014 recruiting class.
Rapheal Davis - If you can have a quiet night in double figures Ray D. had it. He hit a three, had three assists, and hit 5 of 8 field goals overall.
Isaac Haas -The big man had 11 in his college debut and he is another testament to Painter's persistence. He was also close to double-double territory with 8 rebounds and added a pair of blocks.
Kendall Stephens - He was hot early by hitting three 3-pointers early on, but then got quiet. Of all the starters he played the fewest minutes with only 14.
Jacquil Taylor - He finished with seven points in his debut, but much came in mop-up time. If I were to guess, he would be my pick to be first out of a regular rotation, but I could be wrong.
A.J. Hammons - Only five points and three rebounds for the big man, but he protected the rim with a team-high four blocks. You can't overlook his three assists though, as his ability to pass out of the post can open up quite a bit.
Jon Octeus - Not a lot from him, but the transfer had a buffet of stats with four points, four rebounds, two assists, and a steal.
Basil Smotherman - This was another player with a relatively quiet night. He had only two points, but five rebounds and two assists in 16 minutes.
Bryson Scott - Bryson only had one assist, but seven points in 16 minutes. He also hit his only 3-pint attempt, which is big because he hit just five last year from long range.
Dakota Mathias - All of his shots were threes, but he was 2 of 4 for six points. He too had a buffet of stats with four rebounds and three assists, showing off his passing skills.
P.J. Thompson - He had no points, but he added three assists against only one turnover.
The Walk-ons: Stephen Toyra had two points by going 2 of 4 from the line. Anfernee Brown missed his only field goal attempt. Jon McKeeman got the rare 3 trillion. Neal Beshears is out for a few weeks after breaking his hand in practice.
Overall, there is very little not to like. Purdue shot 55% from the field, 43% from three, held the Bulldogs to 22.7% shooting from the field and 15% from long range, and dominated the paint. The only downside really was 16 turnovers. A 19-0 run int he first half where Samford went almost nine minutes without scoring made sure this one was over early. Basically, we did exactly what we needed to do against an over-matched opponent.
As expected, win No. 1 is in the books. On to IUPUI.