It took a nearly six minute second half field goal drought by Rutgers for Purdue to even be close in this one. Even with that six minute field goal drought Purdue still found itself down 64-59. Purdue had three straight possessions with this score and yet somehow couldn’t put any points on the board until it was too late. A good look from Thompson was as close as Purdue would get but it simply wasn’t to be. With the loss Purdue now sits at 11-10 (4-6) overall and their chances at making the Big Dance get just a bit smaller. Purdue has yet to win a conference road game.
John Wooden Memorial Player of the Game (JWMPOTG): Jahaad Proctor lands himself back in this spot for the first time since the conference season started. The transfer from High Point played as good as we all hoped he could when he committed to the Boilermakers. He finished the game with 19 points on 7-12 shooting.
Purdue started off the first half up 5-2. That was the bright spot of the game. After that Rutgers rattled off an 11-0 run to go up 13-2. It was basically all over except for the final score at that point. We’ve all seen this game before. Purdue found themselves in the same situation they’ve been in on the road nearly every game this year. In the first half Purdue committed 11 turnovers leading to 12 Rutgers points. To add to those familiar road beats Sasha Stefanovic was 0-3 from distance in the first half continuing his season trend. Matt Haarms had 0 points on 0 shots in just four minutes due to foul trouble. It was a mess.
The second half was a bit of a ref show with numerous stops for reviews including, incredibly, a flop warning being reversed to a flagrant one against Thompson for an elbow that I’m not sure connected with anything. But hey, judge for yourself.
After going 0-1 at the free throw line in the first half Purdue found its way into the bonus with approximately 15 left in the second half and went 7-9. Rutgers however answered down the stretch and finished an absolutely shocking 25-36 from the line. I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a free throw discrepancy of that magnitude. Maybe the Purdue vs. Oklahoma game when Blake Griffin was on the team. (Just checked that game and yup, Purdue was 4-5 while Oklahoma went 33-46 at the line. Criminal.) Not coincidentally Purdue lost both games.
I hate to pull a Holmes and complain about the refs but that’s such a clear disparity that it has to at least be mentioned. Unfortunately, Purdue put itself in a place where everything that the refs did was amplified due to their poor decision making and poor shooting. This team continues to struggle on the road. Sasha had yet another goose egg on the road and went 0-4 from deep. As a team they were 6-22 from three point range and turned it over 18 times. This team just does very little right on the road and with no go to guy to step up and make plays, and no real consistent shooter on the team at all it falls to a random player to step up each game. That’s all well and good if your roster is loaded with potential stars but right now Purdue has a bunch of solid guys looking for a lead dog with no one stepping up.
The season is slowly slipping away and if this team cannot find a way to play a complete game on the road I don’t expect things to get better. For now this frustrating season continues with a loss to Rutgers. That’s a sentence I couldn’t imagine myself typing just three weeks ago. What a season.