Everyone take a deep breath, the Boilers just came off of two of the biggest wins of the season, one of which was a very emotional win in Assembly Hall against our rivals from down south. Penn State is ranked 13th in the nation for a reason and just defeated Michigan State in Breslin. This is not the end of the world.
Penn State started off like the Boilers usually do at home and hit 5 of their first 8 three-point attempts to get out to a 17-10 lead at the under 12 timeout. The Nittany Lions continued to shoot it well from outside over the course of the first half and finished with 42 points and made 10 threes on 19 attempts. The Boilermakers came out and played the old fashioned way scoring all 15 of their buckets inside the arc after going 0-8 from deep in the first half. The consistent offense for Matt Painter came by way of Trevion Williams who had 8, Nojel Eastern and Eric Hunter Jr. who both had 6 heading into the intermission.
In the second half, it was more of the same as the Nittany Lions started 4-4 from the field and went on a 9-0 to extend their lead to 19 before Matt Painter called a timeout less than 4 minutes into the half. Eventually, the lead got to 24 when Penn State guard Myles Dread hit a three to go up 58-34 with 14:08 left in the game. Isiah Thompson eventually hit the first three-ball for Purdue a minute following Dread’s and got the ball rolling for the Boilermakers. Purdue then went on a huge run to cut the lead to just 7 points at 81-74 with only 1:05 left in the game but the Nittany Lions were able to fend off the comeback bid.
One thing you can never say about this team is that they give up. There have been many instances this season when the team was down double digits for a majority of the game and they just keep grinding and working hard until the final buzzer.
The duo of Seth Lundy and Mike Watkins tormented the Purdue defense combining for 37 points on an absurd 68% clip. Lundy led the Nittany Lions’ three-point attack accounting for 6 by himself. Pat Chambers also got solid play from Myles Dread who started for the ill Myleon Jones tonight and put up 12 points on 4-6 shooting. Penn State put on a great performance with Lamar Stevens largely being held in check.
Purdue was unable to use the Iowa and Indiana wins as momentum and just had an off game on both sides of the floor. There were lapses defensively, no outside scoring threat and they seemed to be out of rhythm all game. Penn State had a game similar to the Boilers explosion against Iowa as they were able to score at will. Whenever Purdue got anything going, any one of the Nittany Lions had an even bigger answer.
After two great offensive performances in which Purdue shot 54% from behind the arc and averaged 89 over the contests, the Boilers went just 4-17 from deep and assisted on just 12 of the 32 baskets made.
Not all was negative during this game as Matt Painter got great outings from Eric Hunter Jr. who put up 14 points and Trevion Williams who although struggled a bit defensively at some points was able to score 17 and pull down 10 rebounds. Jahaad Proctor also gave the team life during the second-half run and finished with 15 points and dished out 4 assists.
Isaiah Thompson also played extremely well in the second half scoring all 15 of his points after the break. Although he had a rough game against Iowa, he has bounced back with a couple of solid games and seems to be earning more and more of Matt Painter’s trust
Yes, this one stings, and Boilermaker fans thought that Painter and the guys had finally turned a corner. This is not the end of the season though. There is still much more basketball to be played and the team has the opportunity to pick up some quality wins down the stretch. It is just a bump in the road against a damn good Penn State team that was hitting everything they took tonight.
With the loss, Purdue now falls to 14-11 overall and an even 7-7 during Big Ten play. Looking ahead, the Boilers have two very winnable, yet tough road conference games against Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are 15-8 on the season and are coming off of a 13 point loss to the aforementioned Badgers. Purdue will travel to Columbus to try to rebound from this loss on Saturday at noon on FOX.