We wanted to see what Purdue could do in a pseudo-must win situation and the Boilers didn't disappoint. They went out and crushed skulls. Purdue led 6-0 before Missouri even scored, 18-4 just over 8 minutes in, and pushed the lead out to 34 at one point before putting it on cruise control. This was a thorough domination that was a welcome relief after yesterday.
There was a whole lot to like about this one. Early on A.J. Hammons was dialed in and disruptive on both ends of the floor. Purdue was playing hard too. Purdue played so hard that one of the timeout segments early on showed the Missouri coach telling his players that we were just playing harder than the Tigers. THAT was refreshing to see.
When one of the few negatives of the day was walk-ons Jon McKeeman and Stephen Toyra missing open looks it is a good day.
The player of the day had to be Rapheal Davis though. The junior has been a vocal leader, but had not done much through the first four games. He had only 24 points in the first four, but had a new career high of 22 today, mostly by attacking the rim in transition and either scoring or getting to the line. He ended up 14 of 18 at the line, which is enough to make any Purdue fan happy after our recent struggles at the stripe.
Jon Octeus also had a big day and showed why I love him as an all around player. He is making a HUGE difference in this offense as a calm facilitator at the point. He finished with a balanced line of 8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal.
The only other player in double figures was A.J. Hammons, who awoke from his slumber for 12 points and 6 rebounds. He wasn't as good on the glass as the eight from Isaac Haas, but he was effective and he also blocked three shots.
Everything else was exactly what needs to happen for Purdue to be successful. The Boilers were aggressive on defense and never let Mizzou get into a rhythm. Purdue played true team basketball where all 10 players that played the majority of the game were able to contribute. The guys were in sync and looked like they actually liked each other. Basil Smotherman was all over the place making Smotherman-like plays. Kendall Stephens and Dakota Mathias hit some big threes. P.J. Thompson had a very quiet seven points and looked composed against the defense.
In short, Purdue looked like how a Purdue team should look. This is what we have been wanting to see for three years now. We didn't see it much yesterday until the second half, but everyone was on the same page and was finally playing Purdue-style basketball. What is Purdue-style basketball? It is hard to explain, but we know it when we see it because it is team-oriented and defense first. Today the defense created offense and Purdue was also crashing the boards like it wanted to rebound. They looked like a different team from yesterday, and that is for the good.
So now we have a win over a major conference foe in our pocket and tomorrow is a likely game against BYU unless the Silverswords pull one of their patented upsets. I said all along that getting two wins out there would be progress as long as one was not against Chaminade. Well, we're halfway to that goal.