You know when you go to B-Dubs and they have the menu with all the sauces? There are actually 21 sauces on that menu. If I were to describe the performance of each team tonight I would say Purdue was Blazin’ and Auburn was Salt and Vinegar Seasoning. What I’m trying to say is that Auburn really could have used someone with some sauce on their team tonight. Perhaps then they would’ve been able to stay in front of the myriad of shooters and big men that Purdue threw at them in the second half.
In the first half Purdue was incredibly inconsistent with plenty of turnovers and just sloppy play accounting for Auburn staying in the game. The team exchanged runs with the biggest Purdue lead of the game being 11 but that disintegrated into a 41-40 Auburn lead with just seconds to go. Enter Carsen Edwards. He took a step back three with roughly two seconds left to put Purdue up two at half. So, what was holding Purdue back in the first half? That would be turnovers. Isaac Haas specifically had a very rough first half. I believe he had five first half turnovers, eight total on the day, that led to numerous easy buckets for Auburn which basically kept them in the game.
John Wooden Memorial Player of the Game (JWMPOTG)- Carsen Edwards wins the award tonight as he played his best game as a Boilermaker thus far. Carsen ‘The Truth’ Edwards, as we have taken to calling him, led the team with 21 points on 7-11 shooting including 4-5 from three point range. He also grabbed two rebounds and doled out two assists. You’d love to see that assist number be higher but you can’t quibble too much with the game he had. Carsen can be the instant offense that Purdue has lacked so obviously these past few seasons. If he continues to grow throughout the season he could become an extremely dangerous player.
The second half for Purdue was simply a thing of beauty. After the first five minutes of back and forth with the lead growing to around 5-7 and then shrinking down to 1-2 Purdue was able to quickly put Auburn away and make all the Boilermaker fans a lot more comfortable. They did this by setting the nets afire. Literally. Okay, not literally you caught me. They figuratively set those nets on fire as the team wound up going 17-26 from three for that game which is good for 65% which was better than the 7-13, or 54% that Purdue was from the free throw line. How did Purdue make those 17 threes you may be asking?
- Carsen Edwards- 4-5
- Dakota Mathias- 4-7
- PJ Thompson- 3-6
- Vincent Edwards- 3-4
- Biggie Swanigan- 2-2
- Ryan Cline- 1-2
Everyone who shot a three for Purdue made a three. Perhaps the happiest of those stats would be the 3-4 from Vincent Edwards. As you may know if you’ve watched Purdue this year Vincent has struggled from the field and the second half tonight was great to see. Vincent scored all 15 of his points in the second half tonight. Let’s hope this is a turning point for him. We are running out of time so let’s go to some quick hits!
- The best thing about this Purdue team is the versatility. They can beat you down low with Swanigan or Haas or they can beat you from the perimeter with, well, nearly everyone.
- Purdue committed 21 turnovers in the game which is something the team needs to work on once they face stiffer competition. As mentioned before Haas had eight of those which obviously needs to be controlled.
- Despite the turnovers Haas wound up with a double double with 10/10. Biggie had another double double himself with 14/10. Those two are going to be tough to stop.
- Ronnie Johnson scored two points on 1-4 shooting to go along with one assist and two turnovers in 15 minutes. Not exactly the spiciest sauce.
- Cline played just nine minutes after coming off of his suspension and I would expect Painter to continue to ease him back into the lineup.
- Spike struggled a bit today but with the three headed point guard monster Purdue can run out it shouldn’t be a problem for any one of them to struggle during any given game.
- Purdue was up 96-69 with just a few seconds left and I really wish the game would’ve ended there since the score would have been a palindrome but sadly Auburn had to ruin it.
So Purdue heads out of Cancun as a champion. Does this mean anything in the long run? It’s possible that this could give the team a boost in confidence as they head toward a more difficult part of the schedule and look toward conference play that is coming up sooner than you think. What we saw tonight in the second half was what this team is capable of. I can’t remember a better offensive team under Painter since 2010, maybe. This team has everything on offense to compete with everyone. If they can continue to grow together and gel as a unit the sky is the limit. Best hop on the train while there’s still room.