On the night of the Golden Globes, no drunk celebrity stood as long tonight giving thank you’s as tonight’s Illinois fans.
The fans in whatever Illinois calls their arena have a little tradition. The fans all stand until the road team scores. This is objectively cool. It’s a nice quirk. A fun little countdown.
Until Grandma Dawn’s knees start to give, and old Uncle Jeb starts to feel a throb start at the back of his hamstring and work it’s way into his bad lower back. That’s what happens when the Boilermakers came town and kept missing, and kept missing, and then turned it over, and then missed more. Doctors were forced to meet with the officials after the first TV timeout and told them, under no condition, can this scoreless streak continue. Everyone’s safety was on the line.
Eventually, Matt Haarms would be fouled and Purdue would have pity taken on them, and he would go to the line where he missed the first free throw. Naturally. But, the tall center made the second to make the second to make the game 11-1 in favor of the Fighting Illini and the collective sound of asses clapping seats and sighs of relief filled the State Farm Center.
It never got better for Purdue as Illinois ran the Boilermakers out of the building, routing Purdue 63-37.
Sometimes narrative and score don’t go together. Tonight they did. Purdue shot 15 of 60 from the floor which is 25 percent and was even more inefficient from beyond the arc.
The Boilers had shot much better at Mackey than on the road this season, but this was something worse than anything Purdue has put on the floor in a long, long time. The last time they failed to score 40 in a game was when they were still reeling from a certain ACL injury.
So we’re just gona machine-gun some shooting stats:
Eric Hunter Jr. 3-9 (0-1)
Nojel Eastern 2-10
Matt Haarms 2-8
Trevion Williams 3-8
Sasha Stefanovic 3-9 (2-5)
Aaron Wheeler 0-5 (0-5)
Jahaad Proctor 1-4 (1-3)
Isaiah Thompson 1-3 (0-1)
There’s no great scope to look through or sight to land on. 37 points in 40 minutes is not good. Illinois is a good, maybe decent, definitely not great team that treated Purdue like a local YMCA team.
There was no bright spots. The season is not lost, but it certainly does not look brighter after this loss.
But because sports never ends, Purdue will get a chance to try again on the road again Michigan on Thursday. Coach Painter will have a lot to do to get his team ready by then.