What looked to be a turning point early in the first half turned out to be nothing of the sort. Purdue was down by 7 with 12:22 to go in the first half when Alan Griffin from Illinois decided to slap Sasha Stefanovic in the ahem midsection and then decided to step/stomp on his gut.
"That's just absolutely ridiculous, uncalled for and he should be gone."— ESPN (@espn) January 22, 2020
Illinois' Alan Griffin was ejected after stepping on a Purdue player. pic.twitter.com/LzG9GWqkap
Griffin was called for a flagrant 2 and kicked out of the game. Purdue went on a 7-0 run to tie the game and it felt like the tide had turned. This was Purdue playing at home and once Purdue gets the lead at Mackey they don’t like to give it away. Purdue’s first three point attempt of the game was a three pointer by, checks stats...DOUBLE CHECKS STATS...Aaron Wheeler. It’s a shot like that that made me feel like this was going to be a victory. A second three from Eric Hunter Jr. put Purdue up 30-29 at the half but that would be the highlight of the game. The second half would be a house of horrors for the Boilermakers.
John Wooden Memorial Player of the Game (JWMPOTG): I guess I have to give this to someone but I honestly don’t know who. I guess I’ll give it to Sasha just for taking the shot to the midsection and the stomp and continuing to play tough. No one from Purdue had a great game but I guess he’s as good a guy as any. Honorable mention to Nojel Eastern who continues to play much better on offense.
The second half for Purdue was an absolute nightmare. Illinois started the game 11-12 from the floor with their one miss resulting in an offensive rebound and an Illinois three. There was nothing Purdue could do to stop Illinois. Trent Frazier was destroying Purdue from outside while Cockburn (pronounced like coburn you animals) absolutely destroyed Purdue on the offensive glass and in the paint. Cockburn finished with 22 and 15. Frazier had 21 on 5-7 from three. There was no one on Purdue who could stop either one of those guys. Ultimately, that was enough for Illinois to win the game. Purdue was out-rebounded 20-8 in the first half. Less than ideal for sure. It wasn’t much better in the second half either. Purdue was out-rebounded 17-11. Better, but still awful. Here’s some eye-popping numbers from the second half:
- Illinois scored 50 points. 50!
- Illinois was 15-20 in the second half. Doing some quick math that’s 75% in the second half.
- Purdue took just 8 threes and finished 3-8. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad considering how bad Purdue has been shooting the ball this season but I’m just at a loss for what this team needs to do on offense.
- Haarms finished 2-7 from the floor including 1-1 from three. He continues to short arm when he gets near the rim as his mid-season slump continues.
- Illinois was 18-19 from the free throw line in comparison to Purdue’s 13-21. Can’t leave eight points at the line like that and expect to win.
Purdue was absolutely dominated in the second half of the game and at least point we have to accept that this Purdue team is what their record says. This team has been completely different at home in the friendly confines of Mackey Arena than they’ve been on the road. Tonight though this team looked fallible even at home. If this team can’t defend home court the rest of the season could be brutal. Yes, credit to Illinois, they are pretty good, but we expect from from Purdue and right now we aren’t getting it.
Purdue sits at 10-9 (3-5) and has plenty of work to do if they even hope to make the NIT.