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Iowa 83, Purdue 76: More Of The Same

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Purdue again shows some promise, but it is not enough in another loss.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport

Much like Wednesday's game against Michigan, Purdue was better today. The Boilers were strong offensively and A.J. Hammons had a big game, but it wasn't enough. The first half defense was deplorable in giving up 50 points as Purdue trailed 50-37 at the half. The Boilers then had another great, promising stretch where it outscored Iowa 27-10 to take a 64-60 lead with 11:22 on an alley-oop dunk from Ronnie Johnson to Hammons.

That is when Purdue's maddening inconsistency set in. After looking great for about 9 minutes Purdue would give up a critical 8-0 run. It is not that Iowa played well in that run, but Purdue went over six minutes without scoring a point before Terone Johnson made it 68-66 on a layup with 5:12 left. Here is the result of Purdue's possessions in that time:

  • Ronnie Johnson Turnover
  • Terone Jonhson Turnover
  • Terone Johnson missed three
  • Kendall Stephens missed three
  • Ronnie Johnson turnover
  • Terone Johnson missed three
  • Rapheal Davis missed three, TJ offensive rebound, then turnover
  • Ronnie Johnson Turnover
  • Hammons missed layup

That was nine empty possessions where Purdue took a single shot inside the three point arc. The Johnson brothers each had three turnovers in that span, and Purdue went from surging ahead to behind for good. The Boilers got within one at 69-68 and got a block by Hammons, but Iowa got the rebound and Josh Oglesby hit a huge three.

This was another game where Purdue did a lot right, but what it did wrong proved to be its undoing. Five guys reached double figures including a quiet 12 from Errick Peck and a very big 18 from Rapheal Davis. The turnovers (16 to 5 in favor of Iowa) were huge. You can't have your starting point guard commit more turnovers than the other team combined. The seven turnovers from RJ were combined with four more from Byson Scott as Purdue's two point guards combined for 11 turnovers, 5 points, 5 assists, and 0 for 9 shooting from the floor.

I guess that is what is encouraging. Purdue's guard play was awful and it still played a ranked team strong on the road. Yes, it is a moral victory, but moral victories are all we seem to have from a team that has now lost 9 of its last 11. In those nine losses we have had good moments. The losses to Northwestern, Penn State, Michigan (at Mackey), Ohio State, and Iowa saw Purdue either lead or be within a possession or two deep into the second half. That tells me this team is close, but once again, its inconsistency dooms it almost every game. Only against Indiana did Purdue go out and dominate without a major letdown at any point.

I still have no doubts that this team, a s it is now, can beat anyone in the conference. It was a play away from beating the team that is going to win the league outright just a few days ago. It has also lost to the two teams behind it in the standings. All we can do now is try to beat either Wisconsin or Northwestern to secure a postseason bid, then see what happens in Indianapolis. Most likely we're looking at an early exit on Thursday of the B1G tournament, but I know this team is capable of making it to Saturday if not Sunday.

As always, this team can't play with any sort of consistency to make it easy to predict.