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Purdue 76, Penn State 64: Boilers Get Back on Track at Home

Every win is beautiful.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Purdue Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t the prettiest win. There were a ton of fouls boputh ways (though not as many as there were in the overtime win in State College). Purdue turned the ball over more than it has all season long. The Boilers gave up a 12-0 second half run and went 6 minutes without scoring. Carsen Edwards was in foul trouble for much of the game, but it was one where different Purdue players each had mini-runs that contributed to the win:

  • With Trevion Williams limited to jsut two minutes due to the flu Evan Boudreaux was puished into service. He showed the limitations he has that has allowed T-Will to thrive, but he hit a big three, had two assists, and finished with five points.
  • Sasha Stefanovic was all over the place. He hit a pair of threes and drew a foul on a third. He also added two assists and a steal to finish with 8 points. He pretty much dominated a 4-5 minute stretch of the first half.
  • Aaron Wheeler hit a three and had a couple of key rebounds.
  • Matt Haarms was effective rolling to the basket after screens and got into double figures. He finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and two blocks in one of his best games as a Boilermaker to date.
  • Grady Eifert does what Grady Eifert does: hit big baskets and excel at the little things.
  • Nojel Eastern had 6 point, 3 assists, 4 steals, and 5 rebounds. He was also Purdue’s leader in +/- with a +13.

It definitely was not pretty. Everyone struggled turning the ball over. If you’re going to have a week where you shoot absolutely horribly in the second half of a game at least it came in one where most Purdue fans would have been surprised with a win. If you’re going to turn the ball over 20+ times do it at home against the last place team in the league. This certainly was not a thing of beauty, but it was a win and Purdue is still tied atop the Big Ten in the loss column with six games to play.

What I am trying to say is that most people expected a split this week and we got it even without playing our best basketball. Today we had an ugly first half, but still led by three at the break. We were completely dominant to start the second half with a 17-4 run that gave us control. Things got ugly again after that, but winning is winning.

Most importantly, we’re still in the Big Ten race. We have four road games in the final six and they won’t be easy. Illinois is also looking like a dangerous team in our next home game. What was expected to be a step back of a season can still end in a Big Ten title. if you told me in December we would be tied in the loss column for the lead with six games to go I wouldn’t have believed you.

Yet here we are.

Now go beat IU.