When the Boilers finished the first half, they had missed all 5 of their three-pointers, turned the ball over 8 times, and Isaac Haas, Vincent Edwards, and Carsen Edwards all had 2 personal fouls.
They were somehow leading 32-30.
In the second half, Coach Painter’s plan was clear. Get Isaac Haas the ball, and get it to him every time. He scored Purdue’s first eight points of the half, including two dunks.
But Marquette would not go away. Markus Howards would hit two threes and pull the War Eagles to within 4 points. With 9:24 remaining, both offenses were clicking and Purdue had only a 63-57 lead.
Then Coach Painter went to a lineup that included a former walk-on in Grady Eifert, a back-up in Ryan Cline Cline, and freshman big man Matt Haarms to go along with P. J. Thompson and Carsen Edwards.
The unusual lineup would push the lead to as much as 15 points after a P. J. Thompson 3-pointer with 6:23 left in the game.
The Boilers would coast from there, going into Marquette for there first marquee match-up of the season, winning 86-71.
Former walk-on Grady Eifert wasn’t just the best story on the court. He might have been the best player. He scored a season-low 8 points, but most impressively, was a lock-down defender in the second half. He set the tone by shutting Sam Hauser down in the second half and chasing defensive rebounds.
Offensively, Purdue big man on the inside was too much for Marquette all night. Isaac Haas would finish with 22 points on 14 shot attempts, knocking down all six of his free throw attempts. A missed dunk early did not deter the senior big man from controlling the paint and attacking one on one in the post.
Matt Haarms, the redshirt freshman, continues to impress in his introduction to big time basketball. He was an immediate impact in the first half, coming in early when Marquette’s penetration was creating open jumpers. His ability to hedge slowed the drive all game. His quickness was shocking, getting to shots at the rim last second, and making the Marquette’s guards hesitant to attack the paint.
Carsen Edwards struggled early in the first half with three turnovers, but got involved by grabbing 6 rebounds and pushing in transition. He’d end up with 15 points on 11 shots and dishing 3 assists.
Balance scoring and depth helped push Purdue past a tough Marquette team late. Dakota Mathias knocked down just one of his three 3-pointers on the night, but found success in the mid-range. He would score 10 points, grab five boards, and four assists while blocking a shot and getting a steal.
Vincent Edwards found himself curiously on the bench, watching a mostly back-up unit thrive and extend the lead in the second half, but a key sequence of buckets help keep the lead early in the second, and an And-1 in the paint helped turn the tide fully in the Boilers favor. He scored just 10 points but grabbed 8 rebounds in just 16 minutes of action.
P. J. Thompson would rarely leave the court as freshman Nojel Eastern struggled to find a rhythm. Thompson would play 36 minutes of mistake-free basketball, scoring 7 and assisting on 3 baskets. Ryan Cline had a pretty driving lay-up late in a shot-clock, a nice dish off on another drive, and knocked down a three for five points in 19 minutes of action.
Purdue wins their first road game of the season and they did it with their bench and unsung rotation players.
Their next game is Saturday at Mackey Arena, against Fairfield.