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Crossing the Tracks | Key Moments from Purdue vs. Marquette

Let’s take a look back at some key plays from Purdue’s Gavitt Games victory.

Growth. That’s what this game against Marquette was about and the fact that it will provide a learning experience on a multitude of situations and a variety of levels is going to help this team continue to mature and evolve towards March. This game provided Coach Painter and his staff their first real opportunity to see what aspects of the team they like, don’t like, and where they can improve.

Let’s cross back over the tracks and review some of the key points and the play of the game that helped push Purdue to victory.

1 | 17:00 1st Half | Smith Scores off PnR

At 16:57 of the first half, Braden Smith gets a high ball screen from Edey and attacks hard into the lane. This is initially really poor defense by Marquette’s big man. Edey is not a threat to shoot. He should have played much flatter initially. Smith reads both his man and Edey’s and sees he is going to have an open lane as Loyer clears from his initial action into the lane to curl back to the top of the key. You can already see Gillis’ defender helping onto Loyer to not give up an open three.

Smith has his defender on his hip and as Loyer continues with his cut, Marquette’s lack of communication leaves the lane wide open for Smith to get to the rim. This puts Morton’s defender in a situation where he has to either step all the way in to stop Smith or jab and recover to not give up an open three. Morton proving he is capable in the catch-and-shoot game from behind the arc is key. Notice how wide open Gillis is on the opposite wing.

As Smith goes to finish at the rim, Gillis’ defender fully switched to Loyer and Edey has clogged the backside to prevent any help on the drive. Even if perfectly defended, Smith is going to be able to dribble through the lane and find an open shooter or get ball movement to put Marquette into defensive rotation. Giving Edey the opportunity to seal his defender down low for an easy bucket.

This is from later in the game and you can see that because Smith is able to get into the lane off a high screen,earlier, forcing Edey’s defender to drop further into the lane. This prevents him from providing proper help on Smith, who is a knockout three point shooter. Not a lot of defenders will be able to get around a screen from Edey and this provides Smith an easy look from three that he buries. Had the defender stepped up to defend Smith higher, he likely drives by his man for an easy paint touch and layup, a dump off to Gillis, or a pass for an open corner three. Later in the game, it was Coach Painter who actually waived Smith into attacking a big who switched onto him late in the shot clock.

I know Coach Painter said it prior to the season, but Smith is going to be really, really good. The issue is, now teams have film on him and he won’t go unnoticed. How he responds to that attention is going to be key for Purdue.

2 | 1:04 First Half | Edey Double Team Pass Out

After an entry from Furst on the wing, Edey gets double teamed Furst’s defender. You can already see that Edey should have hit a cutting Furst, who wasn’t picked up on his cut into the lane. That should prevent Edey being doubled. Purdue also has good spacing around the outside with Smith, Loyer, and Newman.

Furst is open for what could be an easy possible ‘And 1’ but Edey passes to Smith on the right wing instead. This is an area where Edey shows immense improvement over last season. He’s staying calm when the double comes, and is finding open shooters on the opposite side of the court.

With the skip pass to Smith, you can see the defensive rotation Marquette is put into because they’re trying to recover from the double team on Edey. Two defenders sprint toward Loyer to recover as Smith gets him a quick pass.

Loyer uses a shot fake to get the first defender in the air and sidesteps enough to gain separation from the second in order to fire a contested three. This is a shot that Loyer will make hundreds of times in his Purdue career.

The Boilermakers also has a massive rebounding advantage on the backside. Gillis and Edey are both in position to pull down an offensive board. Loyer also has the option to dump it into the lane to Gillis for an easy layup, if he doesn’t want the 3. Purdue having three guys on the wings who are capable of being 40%+ shooters is an incredibly hard thing to defend once a defense is put into rotation.

3 | 9:08 2nd Half | TKR Scores Off Post Entry

TKR faces up his defender after receiving the post entry from Smith. Smith, Newman, and Jenkins space the floor well and give TKR an entire side of the floor to work (similar to Trevion Williams). TKR dribbles himself into position and gets to his spot before the double arrives.

TKR gets into the lane, the double is late and he gets to his spot. Smith’s man drops, and Marquette is forced to rotate but because TKR is able to get across the lane, Newman is left open for a catch and shoot opportunity.

TKR is going to evolve into a post player with a multitude of moves. He scores here and should take this shot 100% of the time but look at the attention he draws, and how open Newman is just one pass away. The same execution will lead to an open three coming off a TKR attack in the lane multiple times this season. The key is proper spacing on the outside, something Purdue frequently struggled with last season.

4 | Edey Dump Pass to Furst Off Post Entry/Double

This is one of the best plays we have seen from Edey, and showcases his continued improvement as a player. Being able to recognize a double is coming and to hit a cutting Furst in stride and with a pass that he can immediately attack the rim with makes Zach harder to defend. The initial spacing here is great! Edey recognizes that his man is sealed on the low side and calls for the ball to be swung to Jenkins for a post entry pass.

As that pass is entered, Furst drops lower onto the wing to give himself space for either a catch-and-shoot three or an attack off the backside cut if his man drops to double with his back turned. Furst makes the correct decision and immediately cuts to the hoop.

On the backside, Morton goes to set a down screen for Smith that Marquette switches. What he needs to do then is cut to the corner opposite of where the ball is to provide Furst an angle in the event he can’t get a shot up. With the switch on the screen, Smith’s defender (on the left block) stays to help but is in poor position (should be one foot in the paint) to help.

This final still shows that Morton needed to rotate down to the corner to give Furst a possible outlet pass. Morton would have an open catch-and-shoot three or would be able to put Marquette into rotation and likely give Smith an open three from the wing with an extra pass.

Play of the Game | Furst Blocked 3pt Shot

This is as about an athletic of a play as you can see a man of Furst’s size make. The distance he recovers to contest the shot, let alone block it, is astounding. There are maybe a handful of big men in college basketball capable of making this play. It’s the type of play that, with a bunch of other NBA type of athletes (I didn’t say skill...I said athleticism) on the floor, stands out above the rest. Marquette Head Coach Shaka Smart, in his post game comments, said: “That was a big time play. At the end of the year that should be on the highlight tape. That was a big time play because if Kam (Jones) makes that shot it changes the complexion of the game.”

Again, look at how far Furst still has to go. The Marquette player has already received the pass and squared himself to the hoop. This is something few players, especially big men, are capable of achieving.

Look at the height and distance Furst closes in a few short moments. This is the play of the game because Purdue was in the midst of their run to take control. Had Marquette hit this three, Purdue’s momentum would have been dashed, going down two points heading toward the 4 minute media timeout.

You can check out the video highlights here