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Key Moments | Purdue vs. Gonzaga | PK85 Championship

Let’s take a look back at some of the key moments from Purdue’s victory over the Duke Blue Devils

Phil Knight Legacy Tournament - Men’s Championship: Duke v Purdue Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images

The Purdue Boilermakers started off slowly again against the Duke Blue Devils but were able to settle into the game and eventually grab one of the premier wins for the program over the last twenty years. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most important moments from the game using stills for an in-depth explanation.

1 | Mason Gillis Corner Three Off Edey Block | 9:20 1st Half

This sequence is a great example of who Purdue is this season. Every thing starts on the defensive end where Duke gets Purdue into a defensive rotation and Mason Gillis sprints to the corner for a closeout. The Duke player gets by Gillis on the low side and you’ll see Edey step across the lane and stay vertical to challenge the shot.

Edey has stepped across the whole lane to confront the driver and Morton has also dropped to help prevent an easy pass out to the arc. You can also see the great positions that Loyer and Smith have put themselves in for the rest of the defense. Loyer has dropped to the middle of the floor to recover to any pass out to the arc while Smith has dropped and fronted on the opposite block to prevent an easy dump pass.

You can see just how much of a wall Edey can be when he stays vertical and when he simply does this he likely won’t be called for a foul. When his arms come down without getting any of the ball, he will likely get called. Once again, you can see the good positions the other players have put themselves in so that the defense can recover as best as they can.

With the miss and rebound, Morton brings the ball up quickly but actually missed an open Gillis. Gillis kept working through the lane to the opposite corner while Morton gets the ball to Smith. You can see Loyer in position on the opposite wing and Edey already getting into position onto the left block. This is important spacing for everything that Purdue wants to run, specifically their ‘weave’ action that gets the defense moving laterally where Purdue can take advantage of cuts and counter-actions.

Smith gets the ball back to a cutting Morton who attacks the middle of the court and gets two feet into the lane before making a decision with the ball. Gillis, who had previously cut through the lane, had set himself up in the corner and readied himself for a catch-and-shoot three. This is a shot Purdue will take from him 100% of the time but Duke is able to close out quickly on him.

Gillis is a highly skilled 4 and although he has yet to really show he can put the ball on the floor, his ability to shoot the three at a high rate (last year being 41.4%) forces the hard closeout and challenging the shot. Gillis shot fakes and gets an open look where he can reset himself to hit the three. This was a big sequence for the Boilers

I’ve got the highlight from Purdue’s cameraman below to see this from a different angle and in real time.

2 | High Double Screen Defense Forces Duke Turnover | 8:34 1st Half

This is a necessary example to show how good Purdue’s defense has grown over the last year. This simple action was hard for the Boilers to defend last season because they failed to communicate effectively and put themselves in the proper position for themselves and their teammates. Duke had gone to forcing Loyer to defend the ball handler because of Smith’s ability to apply pressure but he does a good job of staying with his man until the dribble handoff. You can see Edey and Gillis positioning themselves into the proper placement to defend the staggered high screens.

Here you can see Edey in drop for the on ball screen and Smith fighting over the top after initially going under the dribble handoff. Edey is preventing the ball handler splitting the defense and getting into the lane. The only piece from here that I would like to see is Loyer dropping further down to ‘bump’ Edey’s man to slow him down on his roll to help recovery. Gillis is in perfect position to hedge the coming on ball screen.

You can see how Gillis has hedged really hard to force the ball handler out and away from the basket which allows Smith to recover. Edey is dropping quickly to recover while Morton has positioned himself well to help a drive/prevent a pass to the corner. Loyer is also in good position to get to Filipowski (who Gillis is guarding) to help with defensive rotations. It is this great positioning that leads to the Duke turnover.

Smith is able to challenge the pass and get a tip while Loyer, because he was in proper defensive position, is able to grab the steal and get into a quick fast break. Had that pass gone through, you likely would have seen Loyer square up on Filipowski while Gillis sprinted to crossover to Loyer’s man in the corner OR Edey step out to challenge the corner three while Morton slides over to defend the post. Edey challenging the corner three is what he did in one of the early games this season when he blocked a shot into the 10th row at Mackey.

3 | Staggered Screen Leads To Post Entry for Furst & Dump Pass to Edey | 7:32 1st Half

This is an action on offense that Purdue really started to use with Carsen Edwards and then also for Sasha Stefanovic. Both of those guys used this action so well but Loyer may be the best of the three because he is a very good post entry passer. After the initial action to get Jenkins the ball, Loyer sprints towards the right corner and then turns to use Edey and then Furst on a wide stagger screen.

Here you can see Loyer running past Edey on that first stagger screen while Jenkins has passed the ball off to Morton. Furst is also in the left corner where he is getting ready to set his screen. One thing that needs to improve on this is Loyer needs to be much closer to Edey to get a better screen. Hip to Hip is not ideal in this situation but close enough to rub elbows would be best as it would seal that screen much better.

Due to this staggered screen being successful early on and likely what they saw on film previously, Duke went to a simple switch off this action where Furst’s defender would defend Loyer once he caught the ball. On the backside, Edey is setting an up screen for Jenkins to get into the corner but this action is really about getting the proper spacing and clearing out the help if a drive comes from Loyer because Jenkins would be open for a corner three.

On the catch, you can see that Loyer’s man has switched and is in a terrible position against Furst. Loyer is a very good post entry passer and Filipowski does not use his length to make this pass difficult. Against most teams, a 4 is not going to have the set of post skills that Furst or TKR have but having a guard defend Furst in this situation is a win for Purdue every time.

Loyer gets the ball to Furst at a good angle and cuts through high to pull his defender away to prevent a double team. Furst goes into his moves quickly and it is a good thing he did because Filipowski attempts to double late, which is a poor freshman mistake (this is why Purdue’s actions and counter-actions cause so many problems for teams when they cut hard and run them correctly). Edey is being double already but Furst is going to drop to the baseline because that gets him over his right shoulder where he is stronger with his left hand.

Furst gets to the baseline and Edey’s man is forced to cross the lane to help but Furst is able to dump the pass to Edey who has Jenkins’ man sealed already. This is a high level pass from a power forward/center in Caleb Furst and something a lot of big men in the entire country simply can’t do. The only thing I would like to see if Jenkins should have slid further into the corner so Furst had another option while Loyer went to the wing, but easy to complain when you can watch the play over and over again.

4 | Purdue Weave Against Duke Zone | 5:12 2nd Half

This is a pretty simple action but one that comes from Purdue’s standard weave action that they can apply against man or zone. Purdue had done a good job of getting the ball into positions to score early on once Duke went to a zone but it was a bit frantic and unorganized. Credit to Coach Painter for calling this set that had Purdue in the base weave action to get Furst into the middle of the floor.

After the initial pass on the weave from Smith to Loyer, Loyer then gets the ball to Morton who passes back to Smith. This action is simply used to get the top of the zone extended out and force the opposite corner defender out high before Loyer sprints around in a similar action to the stagger screen shown earlier. This time, Furst and Edey won’t set stagger screens but Edey will seal the interior man of the 2-3 zone to prevent him from helping out on Loyer when the ball gets to the corner.

The ball gets back to Smith on the wing and Furst flashes to the ball side elbow with Edey setting his man up to be sealed on the low block. This is a classic high-low look that is difficult for a zone to defend, especially when you have an athletic 4 like Furst who is adept and passing and shooting.

The ball is entered into Furst and to prevent the high-low pass to Edey, the corner defender drops toward Edey leaving Loyer wide open in the corner. Furst turns and faces the basket which is why the corner defender drops to cover Edey and Furst hits Loyer in the shot pocket for a quick catch-and-shoot three.

Had the Duke defender been able to get Loyer to not shoot, Loyer likely puts the ball on the deck and Edey seals his man either high or low to allow Loyer into the paint for a layup or kick out to Morton on the backside. The other option would have been a post entry pass to Edey where Furst would have dropped in front of the face of the opposite block defender for a dump pass from Edey.