The Purdue Boilermakers grabbed a good win headed into the Christmas break by beating Jacksonville University 100-57 following a big time stretch of games away from Mackey Arena. Lots of guys got some extended minutes and a bench players got some time on the floor as well, to the delight of their teammates. You can’t ask for much more than that!
Let’s get into ‘The Rebound!’
1 | Execution is Key
Purdue looked really good to start the game and executed at a really high level before hitting a bit of a stretch that saw the Dolphins run the Purdue lead down to just 7 at around 7:10 left in the first half. That came with a lineup that had only Lance Jones in from the starting five from 12:23 until 8:13 when the other four starters and Myles Colvin were all on the floor. At that point, Purdue outscored Jacksonville 16-9 to finish the first half and then extended it into the second half to 40-16 with 13:14 left in the second half. It was just 2 minutes later that every starter except Trey Kaufman-Renn would find the bench the rest of the game.
The execution was pretty solid for a game that followed two high level games and came just prior to the extended Christmas break. Were there times were focus was lacking? Of course, but that is a bit expected in this situation. Notably, when the second line experienced Jacksonville pressuring them full court and going to a zone, the offense got a bit stale. However, Lance Jones did a good job of taking some of the load scoring as he went for 13 points in the first half, the only Boiler in double figures in that first half.
It is tough to give anything less than an A when the team scores 100 points but the difficulty to adjust to a zone that wasn’t really that great of a zone is cause for concern. The last few seasons the difficulties came in full court pressure and Purdue has shown a good ability to break that pressure and score at an incredibly efficient level. Teams are going to pick up on that difficulty in the half court and use it more and more so Purdue is going to have to continue to execute their offensive concepts against those looks. To do that, Purdue has to keep moving the ball and not get stagnant around the perimeter.
2 | Generate More Opportunities for Points in Transition
Purdue did a great job of generating points in transition against Jacksonville getting 13 points in fast break situations and 21 points off turnovers. As mentioned in ‘The Three Pointer,’ Purdue ranks at the top of the country when scoring in transition headed into this game and Purdue continued that trend. Coach Painter mentioned in his post game presser about how he feels confident in his teams ability to just slug it out in the half court, if needed. He would much rather be able to get out in transition and score before a defense can really get itself set.
When Purdue has been at their most efficient and most deadly, they have shown their ability to get out quickly and push the ball. That’s been apparent in every game this season and the Boilers really showed that ability in generating 13 dunks, the most in a single game in program history.
3 | Feed’ey the Edey
The chances where Edey did get to set up in the post, there wasn’t a single or even double team that could really stop the Boiler big man. Edey took just 8 shots and scored on 5 of those attempts while also going 8-8 from the free throw line. In the post game, Trey Kaufman-Renn and Matt Painter said they didn’t come into the game any differently and that they players were just going with what the defense was giving them. The Dolphins were hedging the high ball screens and forcing the ball out of Smith’s hands and that meant guys like TKR, Jones, and Colvin were able to step up and provide the scoring with the defense so keyed on Smith, Edey, and Loyer.
That focus didn’t really slow down the Edey, or the Boilers for that matter, as the big man went for 18 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 blocks.
Edey took what the defense gave him and was still able to have a very good game in just 24 minutes of action. The leader for another National Player of the Year was a master in patience and being impactful for his teammates, even without the ball.
And 1 | Extended Playing Time for Cam Heide, Myles Colvin, Ethan Morton, and Will Berg
Matt Painter was able to get Heide, Colvin, and Morton some good minutes against Jacksonville, which should pay dividends down the road. Heide was able to showcase his athletic ability with multiple dunks and high quality defense in 15 minutes of action while Myles Colvin played for an extended amount of time with the starters in both halves in 17 minutes and scored 11 points.
Will Berg has continued to impress in his limited minutes he has gotten this season. In just 5 minutes of action the 7’2 center scored 8 points and had 2 rebounds. The young Boiler just continues to be impressive in his development and Matt Painter, when asked about Berg’s development said this:
@CoachPainter with high praise for freshman @Wille_Berg in the postgame following @BoilerBall’s victory over Jacksonville. ‘He’s going to be successful here.’@HammerAndRails pic.twitter.com/uYjiWUW3oi— Jed Wilkinson (@PurdueWilkie) December 22, 2023
Overall Grade & Prediction:
Overall Grade: A
Purdue: 100 (98)
Jacksonville: 57 (55)
Well, I nearly hit this one exactly where it ended up. The Boilers played well overall and they’ll enter one of the last breaks as the #1 team in the country. This team, at this point in the season, is the unquestioned best team in the country. They get a prep game following the break before they head into the B1G season where they’ll be fighting for the program’s 26th conference championship.
Player of the Game:
Going to go with Zach Edey here again as he went for 18 points and 8 rebounds in a limited amount of minutes against Jacksonville. Had he gone for his full 30+ minute allotment, he likely grabs 24 points and 12 rebounds, which is around his average. I was tempted to go with Trey Kaufman-Renn who seemed to be really confident in himself on both ends of the court, but in the end the reigning NPOY gets the nod.
Play of the Game:
This is a game where there are literally five to six I could put up here and nobody would agree with me because Purdue had 13 dunks, three of which are easily highlight worthy as Colvin and Heide both had breakaways off steals and Heide grabbed a huge alley-oops from Smith. That Heide dunk was the play of the game, in one sense.
Your @HammerAndRails 'Play of the Game' against Jacksonville:— Jed Wilkinson (@PurdueWilkie) December 22, 2023
With @BoilerBall on a major run, @3bradensmith finds a leaping @CamdenHeide off the left baseline for the alley-oop. pic.twitter.com/ffgwZSTn2b
However, late in the second half and with mostly walk-ons getting some highly valued playing time, Carsen Barrett cut through the middle of the lane, receiver a pass from Sam King, and immediately caught the ball and flipped it behind his head to Will Berg for a big dunk. It was a play that reminded a lot of locals about Barrett’s ability locally in high school for a player who could have easily gone and been a starter at a hundred other places around the country.
It’s nice to give these guys the spotlight every once in awhile and the guys who typically get the limelight know the value that Barret, Smith, Rayl, and Martin provide for them on a day to day basis running scout team stuff. In the post game pressure, the guys spoke about the importance of these guys to their success. Matt Painter has built a hell of a program with a culture that would be hard to replicate anywhere in the country.
@BoilerBall’s big 100-57 victory allowed some extra playing time for the deep bench and walk-ons. Here’s @CamdenHeide & Trey Kaufman-Renn speaking about how those guys help them prepare & what it’s like seeing them on the floor.@HammerAndRails pic.twitter.com/rCrT8FtWzu— Jed Wilkinson (@PurdueWilkie) December 22, 2023