On the heels of their impressive season-opening win against Bellarmine, Purdue looked even better overall in route to a 92-67 victory over the Indiana State Sycamores.
Tonight had a different feel from the beginning. The Boilermakers seemed to have that juice again that Matt Painter acknowledged the team lacked in the exhibition contest and season opener. Being inside Mackey Arena, it had a Big Ten game-type atmosphere.
Purdue was expected to dominate an Indiana State squad who lost nearly all of their production from a season ago, but the Boilermakers went full pedal to the metal for all 40 minutes.
It was an offensive clinic especially with the Boilermakers shooting a blistering 53% (31-58) from the field and 40% (8-20) from the three-point range. This was short of the 16 made three-pointers made on Tuesday, but Purdue made up for it in all other areas.
The only time Purdue seemed to struggle was a little over halfway through the second half when they committed a stretch of turnovers and defensive lapses to allow Indiana State to go on an 8-0 run. After they got a stop and a score it was off to the races yet again. Other than that 3-4 minute stretch, the Boilermakers were as close to perfect as you can be.
Leading that charge was Jaden Ivey, who was flying around the court all night, attacking the rim and wrecking havoc defensively. The sophomore guard finished with a career-high, 27 on an eye-popping 10-13 clip from the field. He also had a career-high 8 rebounds, while dishing out a game-high 5 assists.
This was by far the most complete game we have seen out of Ivey thus far in his Boilermaker career. It was evident from the start that he was in kill mode, attacking the basket and getting to the line as well. If he can replicate tonight on a consistent basis, it will be a fun year in West Lafayette.
We also saw just what the duo of Trevion Williams and Zach Edey are capable of tonight. Purdue posts presence’s combined for a line of 33 points, 18 rebounds, 6 assists, and 7 blocks against the Sycamores. Any coach in the country will take that type of production any day of the week. We have seen this for the past several years, but Purdue’s bigs are always here to play.
Caleb Furst had the best game of his young Boilermaker career as well, putting up 12 points on 4-7 shooting and 8 rebounds. This type of production from the freshman is what Matt Painter wants to see; rebounding well, making the most of scoring opportunities, and playing hard. It will be special to see Furst’s growth as the season progresses as well.
The guys who will be holding down the power forward position for Matt Painter are going to need some credit as well. Their stats might not jump off the page or make the highlight plays, but the trio of Caleb Furst, Ethan Morton, and Mason Gillis is perfect for this team.
Another part of this game that might be overlooked is the Boilermakers’ defensive performance on Indiana State’s leading scorer, Cooper Neese. Neese was held to just 4-11 shooting on the night and led the Sycamores in scoring with a modest 15 points. It was a team effort of Isaiah Thompson, Eric Hunter, and other guards sprinkled in on possessions too.
Purdue proved just how many ways they can pick you apart. Tuesday was lights out shooting from Sasha Stefanovic, Isaiah Thompson, and company to go along with suffocating defense. Tonight their stars took the game over and made up for a modest three-point shooting game (even though that was still solid). Role players did their jobs and the Boilermakers took care of business at home.
The improvement in all-around play tonight is a beautiful sight to see for Boilermakers fans. Now, this team needs to take that performance and keep building off of it. Purdue will look to do just that against Wright State on Tuesday evening at 7 pm inside Mackey Arena.