And Purdue is in a 6-way tie for first place for the Big Ten. One down, 17 to go. Purdue was expected to contend for a Big Ten title this year and tonight they showed why. They faced a team that gave them absolute fits last season. Iowa won both games against our Boilers and made us look bad in doing so. Tonight the Hawkeyes (who admittedly lost a lot) were never in it. Purdue jumped out to an 18-4 lead and never even let Iowa get remotely close.
And this was a complete team effort. At one point Purdue had 25 assists on 31 made field goals, and at least two of the non-assisted field goals were drive and dunks by Vince Edwards. The Boilers started by hitting from three. Dakota Mathias and Carsen Edwards were hot early as they combined for 26 of Purdue’s 49 first half points. Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas only had four combined points.
They got theirs in the second half. Now that Iowa had to get out on the perimeter Haas and Swanigan feasted. They had 23 combined in the second half as Isaac Haas had all kinds of space to dunk and play one-on-one.
That is the beauty of a game like this. When Purdue’s offense is hitting like this it is virtually unstoppable. If you get out on the shooters Haas and Swanigan will destroy teams in the paint. If you double down on them the shooters can make you pay for leaving them open. Ryan Cline, both Edwards’, P.J. Thompson, and Mathias can all knock down the open jumper. Even Swanigan can step out and hit the occasional three.
The underrated part is Purdue’s passing. It was beautiful around the perimeter tonight and even Haas was finding open guys cutting to the basket. We had 27 total assists! That’s just absurd!
Oh, and Swanigan had a double-double. Yawn.
It’s only one game, but this is a statement game. Unlike some other teams that are favored in this conference, Purdue did what it was supposed to tonight. In fact, it went beyond that. It crushed a team, and we haven’t even talked about Mathias’ defensive performance on Peter Jok in the first half. The Big Ten’s leading scorer was held to two first half points and 13 total after a hot start to the second half. That was all Mathias, who was amazing in the first half. It wasn’t just that Purdue won tonight. It broke a team’s will after the Hawkeyes were kind of in our head last season.
On to Minnesota.