The first half was close. Nebraska played about as well as they could and Purdue missed some open shots. The Cornhuskers even led for a fair amount of the half.
Mackey is Mackey though, and Purdue led by two at halftime despite Nebraska playing as well as they could. From there the Boilers rolled at home thanks to a former walk-on.
This was a game where Grady Eifert decided he was going to take over at home. He is a senior that went from walk-on to starter. Normally that would be worthy of a 15 minute BTN feature, but Grady has not gotten that. He has not gotten that because it is the highest level of achievement for Purdue walk-ons. In fact, tonight he ascended into Valhalla because there was an M-V-P chant for him as he was at the line for a pair of free throws with 1:12 left. For the first time in his career Grady reached double figures with 16 points and Purdue rolled.
Overall, this was not a terribly exciting game. Carsen Edwards was Carsen with 27 points, but not in a dominating way. If you can have a quiet 27 he had it. Ryan Cline and Nojel Eastern reached double figures, but it felt like a Milton Berle game because we took out just enough to win comfortably. Once we made our early second half surge the game was mostly over. But I like that. Games where Purdue takes care of business at home without playing out of its mind are the best. We weren’t great, but we still won by double digits over a top 40 NET team. We placed four players in double figures and held a team below 40% from the field. James Palmer Jr. had 17 points for the Huskers and Thomas Allen had 18, but the Boilers were in control throughout.
I think Nebraska got worn down a bit, too. The crowd took its toll on them as well as their lack of depth with Copeland out. Eastern was great again defensively, too.
The schedule gets real this coming week as we head to Maryland on Tuesday night for our toughest remaining game.