Before tonight Bryson Scott has not scored during the Big Ten season and had barely played since the calendar flipped over to 2015.
Before the Iowa game Basil Smotherman had scored only one point in Big Ten play and had mostly been an afterthought.
That's the thing though. Those things did not matter. Both players provided a huge for the Boilers, especially Scott, who came out of Matt Painter's doghouse and attacked the Hoosiers for 11 points, 6 rebounds, and multiple minutes of rabid Purdue-style defense. After the game he was asked why this one mattered.
"Because it's Indiana," was his answer.
Beating the Hoosiers matters to Purdue. It is why Sterling Carter will always be remembered even though he spent one year (and not even that, with his injury) in West Lafayette with mixed results. It is why there were nearly 15,000 screaming fans making Mackey Arena as loud as it has been since E'Twaun's famous 38 Special four years ago. Yes, Purdue has a lot of work to do and this, being their 5th win in Big Ten play like last year's win over Indiana, only means they have beaten Indiana. It still matters because the Hoosiers were ranked coming in and there was talk of them contending for the Big Ten, but we quickly went up by double figures and never really looked back. It still matters because there were 20,000 page views today BEFORE the game started.
This was truly a team effort for Purdue. Rapheal Davis had 19 points. A.J. Hammons had 11 points and a career high eight blocks. Dakota Mathias hit some big shots. P.J. Thompson hit a huge three-pointer. Vince Edwards, Kendall Stephens, and Jon Octeus had some good moments. But it was Smotherman and Scott who had the biggest boosts.
The largest play of the game came just before halftime. Purdue led by eight, but With Indiana's ability to shoot the three and under a minute to play in the half the Hoosiers had an excellent chance to go into halftime down five. Instead, Smotherman made a steal and score to push the lead back to 10.
Then, it was Scott's turn. After IU was fouled and hit one of two free throws Scott went coast-to-coast for the second time in the half, using his speed to splice through the defense for a bucket that put Purdue up 11.
There was a lot to play, but those two plays were huge because Purdue's sheer athleticism has been lacking all year. Suddenly, Purdue could match up athletically with the Hoosiers and they were not expecting that. It turned the game in Purdue's favor more than anything else.
Of course, a lot of other things went Purdue's way. James Blackmon was handcuffed by tremendous Purdue defense. Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons could not be stopped when they got the ball on the low block. Finally, Purdue's overall effort is what we have as fans have been craving for ages.
I don't what it is going to take for Purdue to play this tough the rest of the way, be it prayer, voodoo, hypnosis that they are playing Indiana at home, whatever it takes. If Purdue plays this hard the rest of the way a lot of good things will happen.
Here is video of Scott, Hammons, and Davis post-game.
I will have more tomorrow since it is getting late, but enjoy this. That was fun.