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H&R Spotlight: 18 3's

There were a lot of 3's Sunday, so we can't blame you if you missed any. But don't worry, we'll go over each one of them here.

Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

(I'm having trouble getting the videos linked into the article, and as soon as I figure it out, they'll be added back.)

Still feeling good after Purdue offensive explosion? Me, too. Instead of highlighting just one player, I thought we'd take a look back at all 18 of the threes that set a new Purdue record for made three pointers in the game.

1. Vince Edwards corner three off Rapheal Davis assist. 17:15 on the clock.

The play starts with a pick and roll with Hill and Swanigan. Swanigan slips the pick and Hill finds him on the left side of the court, quick cross court pass to Davis who pulls in the formally weak side defense, and then find Edwards open in the corner. It's beautifully patient basketball that shows off the awareness of everyone on the court.


2. Caleb Swanigan drains a 3 off a P. J. Thompson assist. 14:52

Coach Painter continues to give Swanigan the green light to shoot from deep. After setting a screen, his defender falls back, and Thompson gives an easy relay pass to the big man who quickly and calmly steps into his jumper knocking it down from just right of center arc.

3. Kendall Stephens knocks down a corner 3 off a Dakota Mathias assist. 14:22

A semi-transition three where Mathias actually turned down the open three in favor of a cross court pass to an equally open Kendall Stephens. Really, this should have been Dakota's first three of the day, but it's hard to complain when the ball still goes in. Mathias seems determined to get others going above himself unless he's made the previous five, of course. Good to note, we're a quarter of the way into the half at this point and the Boilers have only knocked down three 3's. Not exactly record breaking pace, or so it seemed.

4. Dakota Mathias drains a transition three off a Rapheal Davis assist. 11:23

Dakota's first three was a no hesitation, absolute dagger in transition. Davis wisely pushed to create a cushion behind him and left the ball perfectly for Dakota to rise up and go silky.

5. Rapheal Davis knocks down a three off of a Ryan Cline assist. 10:49

Nothing fancy here. Cline receives the ball at the top after a Dakota pass, Mathias sets a down screen on Davis's man, and Davis come open right of center and shows off his improved stroke. These shots will be there for Rapheal all year, and he might have the quickest release on the team.

6. Vince Edwards hits a three off a Kendall Stephens assist. 9:19

Edwards doesn't rush anything. He doesn't even come off a screen for this three. The ball rotates to Kendall at the top of the arc and Vince flares out left of center, catches it, and noticing that his defender wasn't right in his face just went up with it. Vince's ability to get to the hoop will have a lot of defenders sagging off him and giving up decent looks behind the arc, which he now seems to be making with more confidence than last year.

7. Kendall Stephens drains a corner three off a drive and dish from Vince Edwards. 6:46

If there was a play that was indicative of what Edwards can do for an offense, this was it. We've talked about his improved quickness and he's used it this year to penetrate deep into the hole. He catches the ball in the right corner, uses a quick first step to get past his guy, drives to the middle of the lane where he sucks in Kendall's defender on the left corner and fires a pass right to the open marksmen who knocks it down. Perfect basketball.


8. Kendall Stephens knocks down another left corner three off a Vince Edwards feed. 6:12

This time, the Purdue defense forces a bad shot and Edwards corrals the rebound before pushing it up court. A pass to the corner to Davis, who returns it back to Edwards, who scoots it cross court to Stephens in the same spot as the three before, and it's the same result. There's just not enough to be said about the Boiler's willingness to pass, especially in transition where pushing the ball can lead to juicy, wide open threes as the defense rushes to get back and pick up their assignments.

9. Dakota Mathias takes and hits a three off a Rapheal Davis assist. 3:53

Davis received the ball left of center, and he see Dakota open in the right corner. Instead of forcing an over the defense pass, Dakota comes to the ball, Kendall lays a little screen on the defender who realizes too late that Mathias will be wide open, and Dakota catches clean and flushes another one. All the talk has been about Rapheal and Vince, but Dakota's mechanics really look quicker. He never has risen off the ground much for his shot, and there's a smoother transition from catch to getting the ball above his head for the shot. But this was a really sloppy zone by the Catamounts, and they failed to account for Dakota, partially because Kendall started the play on the same side of the court as his.

10. Ryan Cline knocks down a corner three off a Rapheal Davis drive. 0:12

Cline starts at the left corner with Thompson left side, and his man comes out to him, almost trapping, and the zone gets pulled left as Cline goes baseline to the right corner. P. J. swings it to Davis in the middle who drives and sucks in three defenders leaving Cline open in the corner. Davis finds him and the true freshman rattles one in. Again, good ball movement, but sloppy defense. Cline was an easy pass for Davis who was able to stop at the free throw line and find him.

11. Vince Edwards drains a three from right of center off a Johnny Hill pass out. 16:16

A pretty play that starts with Edwards setting a screen at the top of the key for Hill who receives the pass from left, and curls inside pulling both his man and Edwards into the paint. This leaves Edwards wide open right of center after popping out from his off ball screen. He catches and releases that beautiful, high-arcing shot that splashes down for another three points. Hill's first step combines with Edward's headiness on a big three when the Catamounts were still fighting.

12. Caleb Swanigan hits a three after a Johnny Hill push up court. 15:46

A long rebound and outlet pass left Johnny Hill pushing the ball up court with Caleb Swanigan trailing closely behind him. Similar to the Davis to Mathias three from earlier, only this time it's a 6'9" guy going all Dirk in semi-transition from deep. If Swanigan continues to show this kind of comfort with threes, he's going to be even better than everyone thought. Instead of just all conference, he might be on the short list for All-American. This is hyperbole, but also true, I don't think anyone touted him as this fluid of a shooter.

13. Dakota Mathias drains the three after a P. J. Thompson steal and dish. 13:52

P. J. makes a great steal at one end, pushes it  up, finds Kendall who goes right back to P. J. who recognizes an open Mathias on the right side of the court and pump fakes and dribbles to the free throw to get an angle to whip a pass over to Dakota who drains the three from the right corner. Brilliant all around play by Thompson who is seeing the court very well early on this season.

14. Dakota Mathias drains an off the bounce trey. 12:27

And then things started getting fun. This was an absolute heat check. Dakota received the ball going left to right along the three point line and received a screen from Haas who rolled to the hoop. The pick didn't initially clear a shot for Mathias so he took another dribble right and around the big man who didn't get turned to contest the pull up by Dakota that went straight through the net. There's been very few moments in Mathias' career where he was actively seeking his own shot, but this was one of them and he drained it.

15. Dakota comes hard off a screen and collects three on a Ryan Cline assist. 11:08

Cline dribbles at the top of the arc, goes through a pick and roll, and finds Dakota coming in a blur from the baseline to left of center where he goes up immediately for his second straight heat check. This is the exact shot he's struggled with, where his body is going against the momentum of the shot, and he has to catch, turn, and shoot in an instant. It's the kind of shot that Kendall hits just enough to make him one of the scarier shooters in the country, and it's the shot Dakota couldn't knock down in the first game of the season, or last year. He looked to be a little lower, more balanced catching the ball, and he got up a lot quicker than last year. Still, a tough, tough shot that won't be sustainable in the long term, but at this point, who cares. We're all just eating pop corn, watching the kid work.

16. Ryan Cline rattles in a corner three off a P. J. Thompson pass. 9:56

I don't know what it is about Cline's shot that prevents his shots from going in clean, but regardless, it's three points. The Boilers push again in transition and it leads to P. J. Thompson and Ryan Cline on the left side of the arc being guarded by one person. P. J. received the pass, looks to shoot until the defender commits to him, and then he passes it to the left corner where Cline puts one off the rim, off glass, and then finally falls through the hoop. This team has shown a great understanding of when good shots can become great shots with an extra pass here and there.

17. Vince Edwards knocks down a cool, calm, and collected three. 8:31

Just Vince doing Vince.


18. Ryan Cline hits a transition three off a Johnny Hill pass. 4:04

And the 18th three might have been the easiest. Just run, catch, and shoot. Hill brings it up court, no one on Vermont  picks up Cline, and he drains it real nice and easy like, finally finding all net.


So what have we learned? I'm of two minds: First, we will continue to get good looks from three all year because we have three post players that are going to draw absolute attention from other teams at all times. Second, it will not be this easy all year. There will be teams that can match up better in the post, that won't have to have all five eyes on the post guys constantly. There will be teams with the athleticism to shut down those passes inside while also being able to close out on our shooters on the perimeter. Can we still knock down a high percentage of our shots when instead of wide open threes, they're just somewhat open, or not open at all threes?

Hill is going to have to drive more, same for Davis and Edwards, and those cross court passes will not be as available or easy to make when teams have a bunch of long, athletic players that can jump them.

But we're better than last year, our shooting seems to have improved with everyone that came back, and our two freshman are potential studs. We might not break the record for most threes in the game against, but this is who we are as a team now. You can expect this team to come close, if not easily surpass most 3's in one season for a Boilermaker team, and quite possibly be one of the top three point shooting teams in the nation.

As things stand, let it be known, it's not just defense that lives here anymore.