As it turns out, Howard was without the nation's leading scorer, as James Daniel missed this game with a toe injury. Another great scorer, James Miller, was out with his 15 points per game, and Damon Collins did not come back after halftime with the flu. That was 55 points per game they were missing, but with the way Purdue played, it wouldn't have mattered.
After Kofi Andoh hit a three-pointer to make it 12-11 Purdue about 5 minutes in the Boilers stepped on the gas. They outscored Howard 31-4 over the next ten minutes to take firm control of the game. It was 56-24 at the half and we had extended garbage time in the second half as a short-handed Howard played better, but it wasn't enough.
This may have been the best game for freshman Caleb Swanigan, who was dominant and delivered his second straight double-double. He now has four on the season in 10 games, and he even added a few assists. Even Jacquil Taylor was able to get some extended playing time for the first time this season, which is good considering he will be needed much more next year.
I know it would have been interesting to see how this game would have gone if Howard were at full strength. They were scoring over 80 points per game coming in, but without Daniel and Miller they were far too short-handed to make a serious challenge.
There were still some things to work on. The Boilers shot over 30 threes, which is a bit much for my tastes, but Kendall Stephens hit four and Ryan Cline added a pair. All 11 scholarship players that are not redshirting had scored by the five minute mark and even the walk-ons got a lot of minutes.
Of course, that means Rapheal Davis played. He added 10 points, three rebounds, and two assists and was instrumental during Purdue's huge run to dominate the game.
Up next is one more tune-up game on Saturday against Youngstown State. Purdue has also now won all 10 games by at least 12 points and the national media even took notice at halftime by saying this can definitely be a Final Four team.