What. A. Game. The No. 2 ranked Purdue Boilermakers survived a scare from Iowa Friday night by a score of 77-70.
Tonight has to be up there will some of the craziest Purdue basketball games, win or lose, of all time. Purdue fans might not want to hear that but it was one hell of a game that the Boilermakers needed to make it all but confirmed that they will become the No. 1 team in the country come Monday at Noon.
Fans should have known better than to think Purdue was going to steamroll through every single opponent, especially ones as good as Iowa. Everyone knew the Boilermakers were going to have games like this, but the most important thing is they came out with a win.
Iowa came into this game at 7-0, coming off a big win against Virginia, and had nothing to lose. The Hawkeyes just were not able to pull off the magic of the Spoilermakers tonight, what a shame.
Much discussion will be had about tonight, specifically about the late game turnovers of Eric Hunter Jr and the inability of this team to beat the press of the Hawkeyes. This Iowa press was much different than the one Purdue saw earlier this week against Florida State which saw them still score 93 points.
It seemed to me that Matt Painter did not give his guards or wings directions on how to beat the press after four straight terrible possessions. You have to give Painter the benefit of the doubt, but they will stress this nonstop in practice before their matchup against Rutgers next Thursday.
This Iowa press was much different than the one Purdue saw earlier this week against Florida State which saw them still score 93 points.
After the things that Mason Gillis had been through this offseason, getting his spot taken by Caleb Furst and being forced to earn his role back, he was the driving force behind the Boilermakers win tonight. The redshirt sophomore scored 12 points on just 2-3 shooting but went a perfect 6-6 from the free-throw line. He came up with jump ball situations, key rebounds, and defense that Purdue desperately needed. It was one of the most important performances for the Boilermakers on this short season.
Before things fell apart, it looked like Jaden Ivey was going to take over the show once again. Ivey continued his stellar play with 19 points on 7-13 shooting, but more importantly, his trio of monster dunks in the second half about blasted the roof off of Mackey Arena. It seemed as if the Boilermakers were going to run away with this one before the near Rick Mount Night collapse took place.
Senior center, Trevion Williams, stepped up big time on both ends of the floor tonight with Edey being limited to 16 minutes tonight. There are certain games where Trevion’s style will fare better than Edey’s and vice-versa, clearly it was one of those nights. Williams posted a line of 13 points on a poor 4-12 shooting performance, but he added in 18 rebounds and 3 assists. As Gillis will get his much-deserved shine, I think Trevion played a vital role in the win as well.
It was just a tough game altogether for Purdue with Edey having his toughest game of the season, Caleb Furst not having much of an impact offensively and the shooters not being able to string together some shots. Although it wasn’t pretty, this is the type of game that Purdue can learn very valuable lessons from while also coming out with a win.
Watch the film tomorrow, fix the mistakes, and move on. That is all you can do at this point, and Matt Painter will have his guys ready to go next time out.
Before then, the Boilermakers will move into the No. 1 overall spot in the AP Top 25 poll on Monday as Ohio State upset Duke while Purdue took care of business going 2-0 this week. For the first time in school history, Purdue Men’s Basketball will be the best team in the country. When you’re complaining about the mistakes of tonight, remember this.
Next time out, the Boilermakers will take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Rutgers has struggled mightily this season with a record of just 4-4 and losses to UMass, Lafayette, DePaul, and Illinois. Those are uninspiring results, to say the least. The game will be Thursday, December 9th at 7:00 p.m. in New Jersey.