When word leaked a few minutes before the game that true freshman Jaden Ivey would be missing the game with a foot injury, the already short handed Boilermakers were in for some trouble.
Ivey, who scored in double-digits the night before in his first career game, is the athletic, big, attacking kind of point guard that would be able to counter balance a defense that likes to get in your face and press an offense. The absence was even more glaring when Purdue was also without lead guard Eric Hunter Jr. who is recovering from a fractured tibia.
It put the diminutive Isaiah Thompson into the starting role and the sophomore struggled against constant pressure and an aggressive defense by Clemson. Purdue’s couldn’t hold onto the ball and struggled on the defensive end, and the Tigers were able to leave Florida as Space Coast Champions after handing a 81-70 whipping on the Boilermakers.
Coach Painter was down to a rotation of 8 guys, and it showed, after Purdue fought back in the second half to lower a double-digit deficit to zero, the Boilers just ran out of gas.
This fatigue that can be expected from a team this early in the season, playing this many men down during a pandemic, was apparent in the Boilers 21 turnovers.
While the Boilers struggled at times in the half-court, Clemson was able to make the difference in transition. Purdue had just 2 transition points while Clemson had 21.
Clemson’s Aamir Simms led all scorers with 24 points, knocking down two triples, and taking advantage of a Trevion Williams inside late.
Despite the lopsided end game, Coach Painter will probably leave Florida feeling pretty good about his young squad.
The Boilers play no seniors because no seniors exist on their team. Their eight man rotation today included two true freshman, and two redshirt freshman. For the most part, those freshman were all excellent.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Newman led the team in minutes, playing 37, and set a career high in points with 15. He was consistently aggressive attacking the hoop, knocked down three threes, and had two steals to go with his five rebounds.
While true freshman big man Zach Edey is announcing himself as a national phenomenon. Or, international might be more accurate as the 7’4” giant made his way to West Lafayette from Canada. He led the Boilers in scoring, thunderously throwing down 17 points while grabbing 8 rebounds and blocking two shots. The big man who is barely two years into playing basketball at any level, also showed a soft touch at the line, making 5 of his 7 attempts.
Ethan Morton did not score a point, but the true freshman who had been sidelined with mono, and struggled last night, had a nice bounce back game. He came in as the back up point guard despite his 6’6” frame, and showed poise and an ability to play make by assisting on five shots.
Purdue’s Trevion Williams had another rough night. His bully post up game has faltered early on in the season. He was 4 of 11 from the field on ten points and struggled with turnovers. He was also consistently attacked on defense and did little to slow down Clemson’s big men in the post or at the perimeter. He got into early foul trouble and remained in foul trouble for most the game. He fouled out late in the second half.
Despite a rough final score, Purdue’s future looks bright. They should be a team that gets quick in a hurry. Their next test will be against Oakland back in Mackey Arena next week.