With finals looming around the corner, dead week always presents a tough task for teams preparing for lesser opponents, but that’s just what Valparaiso was, a lesser opponent.
The Boilermakers won easily on a night they started out shooting slowly, rolling to an 80-50 victory.
The Boilermakers were more athletic, taller, and more skilled on a night Valpo couldn’t make a shot from distance.
The advantage showed early with Purdue’s most athletic player, Carsen Edwards, getting into transition and finding Vincent Edwards for a two-handed flush before having the favor returned to him when he finished a nifty right to left hand lay-up while drawing the foul. Edwards struggled to find his shot from deep, but continued to attack the basket, finishing the game with another highlight finish for an And-1. He had 14 points, 4 rebounds, and an assist but did have 3 turnovers.
But it wasn’t just the guards having fun. Matt Haarms continues to be a bottle of electricity for Coach Painter to open whenever Purdue needs a jolt. It took less than two minutes of floor time for Haarms to deny a Valpo player at the rim for his first of 2 blocks on the night. Haarms finished the game with 8 points and four rebounds.
Ryan Cline, previously suffering from a sore back and poor shooting, has come alive for the Boilermakers in the last two games. He connected on two 3-pointers in the first half: A catch and shoot in rhythm 28-footer and a catch and cross back off-the-dribble 3 to give Purdue a 20 point lead they’d take into the second half. In the last two games, Cline is 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. He started the season making just 4 of his 23 attempts. He ended the game with 6 points and 2 rebounds.
Dakota Mathias and Isaac Haas mostly had an easy night of it. Neither having to take over the offense, letting it run through Edwards and Edwards. Haas would score 10 points on an uncharacteristically inefficient 2 of 6 from the floor. Mathias went scoreless in the first half, but finished strong, scoring 8 points to go along with 3 assists..
While Purdue struggled to make shots to start the game, Valparaiso couldn’t hold onto the ball. They finished the first half with 11 turnovers to go with a poor shooting performance. They didn’t make a 3-point shot until the second half.
The Boilermaker’s bench finally seems to be catching their stride. It helps to blow out a team and get extended run, but even early Haarms and Cline were able to make their presence known. Eastern continues to flash the potential of a dynamic 6’6” point guard, but the reality of a true freshman point guard is more about turnovers and occasional energy.
While Purdue’s season has had some up and downs early, it’s the steady hand of senior Vincent Edward that continues to lead this team. Edwards scored 15 points and grabbed 9 rebounds on the night in just 25 minutes of action. That keeps Vincent’s streak alive of double-digit points and at least 5 rebounds to every game this season. He also added 3 assist and knocked down both free throw attempts.
Purdue moves to 9-2 on the year with the win and will play host to another in-state school, IUPUI on Sunday December 10th at 7:00 pm.