A careless turnover. A freshman miscue. An easy fast break bucket for the Nittany Lions.
Not so fast. Or well, very fast, the true freshman, Jaden Ivey, as he threw away the idea of moping after his dribble was taken from him, and then threw away the lay-up attempt by * Name redacted for the sake of the player’s family *
I mean... Ivey stole that man’s dignity, maybe we should leave him his anonymity?— Nicole Hoeing (@HoeingNicole) February 27, 2021
It was a proper metaphor for a game that Coach Painter’s Boilermakers dominated from the start and kept dominating to one of their most demonstrative victories of the season, handling Penn State 73-52.
Jaden Ivey’s chase down block was one of just four blocks for the true freshman who also threw in a highlight dunk after one of his three steals for two of his 14 points. That’s a stat line of 14 points, 5 rebounds, an assist, 4 blocks, and 3 steals. Ivey is announcing himself to the Big Ten and the NCAA at large. The young guard is stepping into his own as March waits just a few days away.
He wasn’t alone. Sasha Stefanovic stepped back into the starting lineup and had one of his best all-around games of the season. He looks to be fully back after his stint with COVID-19. The Junior had 16 points while making just 2 of his 6 three-point attempts. Stefanovic continues to flash an improved game with the ball in his hand. He attacked the hoop, getting to the free throw line 5 times, made difficult contested shots at the rim, and used his threat as a shooter to get open cuts to the hoop.
Including a beautiful reverse lay up in the first half off a perfect dime from Purdue’s finalist for best Center in college basketball, Trevion Williams, who had a relatively quiet night. The sweet-passing big man decided to play the role of facilitator, scoring just 11 points and grabbing 5 rebounds while leading the team with 4 assists.
Eric Hunter Jr. was the fourth Boilermaker to score in double-figures, continuing his hot shooting by knocking down both his three point attempts and showing off a well-balanced and expanding offensive game, scoring 11 points on just 6 shot attempts. He is also making his case for defensive player of the year, leading a Purdue effort that had the Nittany Lions shoot just 35% from the floor.
Purdue’s Aaron Wheeler, who has taken as much criticism as any player on Purdue’s roster since coming to West Lafayette, is really coming into his own off the bench. In just 15 minutes he managed to lead the team with 7 rebounds, knocked down a corner three, and have 3 assists. He’s playing the best basketball of his career over the last couple weeks.
Purdue’s a young team on the rise, and will likely move back into the top-25 after their third straight win.
Coach Painter’s squad will host Wisconsin on Tuesday, March 2nd ahead of their season ending game against one-time rival Indiana.