After an ugly first half Purdue started out strong in the second half, getting a basket from Isaac Haas before Jon Octeus knocked down a big three-pointer to make it 46-44. Purdue was coming on strong and even though they were down seven at the break, it got the start it needed and was down only two with 18:20 left.
Over the next 11 minutes, until the 7:11 mark, the bottom fell out. There were turnovers. There were missed defensive assignments that led to easy dunks. There were fouls (were there ever fouls). There was ugly basketball as the Irish went on a 28-7 run to move it to 74-51. For the this straight year Purdue was run off the floor in the Crossroads Classic, and for the third straight year it looks like an eerie look into a long non-conference schedule.
Some people will complain about the officiating, but officiating doesn't miss shots. Officiating does not cause 20-poin deficits. For most of the second half Purdue looked like a team that was completely lost. Now, all the momentum that was gained from a successful Maui trip and a win over a good NC State team has been lost.
Purdue's offense has regressed to being stagnant at best. No one can shoot and both A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas have lost any touch they had around the basket. Not only can Purdue not shoot, they looked afraid to shoot most of the afternoon.
This is before you even touch on the defensive issues. Demetrius Jackson had a ridiculous dunk on Haas before hitting a crucial three. There was no focus at all as ND had dunk after dunk after dunk on screen and rolls. We have had our bad moments this season, but the final 18:20 of the game was the absolute worst of the season so far. We could do nothing competent on offense and defensively we were non-existent. You're not going to beat anyone when that happens.
So Purdue will go into the conference seasons 9-4 at best with a bad loss to North Florida, two mediocre losses to Vanderbilt and Kansas State, and a blowout loss to the best team it has played. The season is far from over, especially as bad as some Big Ten teams have looked so far. Unfortunately, nothing we have seen since the NC State game gives us any confidence.
This was a different Crossroads Classic atmosphere than before too. Most of the IU fans had left and there were few Notre Dame games. I was in the arena and it was genuinely loud when Purdue was playing well. When the Boilers jumped to a 16-8 lead it looked like maybe, just maybe, we were going to get going. Then Haas and Hammons got into foul trouble and Purdue looks completely lost offensively when one of them isn't in there.
Just about the only player who played well was Jon Octeus, who had a couple of big threes and was in double figures early. Everyone else looked about as dreadful as they have all season. I don't what else can be done, either. The intensity and team unity that was there during Maui and the NC State game is totally gone. Honestly, we looked like we have during the worst of the past two seasons.
We can save ourselves with a Big Ten season of 11-7 (probably the minimum needed for an NCAA berth), and the Big Ten is way down when Michigan looks cooked and Michigan State lost to Texas Southern, but boy, even beating bad Big Ten teams looks like a stretch right now. If we're not careful Tuesday night against Gardner Webb could be a disaster. This was a game where Purdue was within two with 18 minutes left, but it lost by more than 30. Against anyone that is bad.