The last basket A.J. Hammons had on Saturday was a dunk. Of course, you could say that about many of his baskets. It came with 4:28 left in the game, but the look on his face was classic. Hammons had been so dominant and unstoppable on the day that he didn't even enjoy it. Sure, it made the score 78-65 and the crowd went nuts. Hammons, who has been accused of showing little emotion, looked almost disgusted. The simplicity of this game amused him, and this thunderous dunk was pretty much made with disdain at the lack of a challenge.
Yeah,Nebraska was at a severe disadvantage against Purdue's size, but this was an incredible performance by the Purdue senior. The 32 points was a career, but infinitely more enjoyable where he had a previous career high of 30 against Indiana in the worst loss in Mackey Arena history. He was a ridiculous 14 of 17 from the floor. He added 11 rebounds in a season that is already his best rebounding season. His passes out of the post led to five assists, making him accountable for at least 10 more points, and he erased four shots as he continued to patrol the post.
A.J. has had some great games in his career, but this was very likely his most complete. In 29 minutes he was completely and utterly dominant within 5 feet of the basket on both ends of the floor. The opposition, a respectable Big Ten team, was reduced to flailing and fouling him in the vain hope it slowed him down. It didn't work.
Much has been said about A.J.'s drive, but holy crap this was impressive. If this is the A.J. Purdue gets in the remaining eight regular season games the rest of the Big Ten should be terrified. He is the destroyer of worlds, and it is not like the 13 points by his backup was awful.
So thank you, A.J., for sending us into the bye on a positive note. You made basketball a lot of fun on Saturday.