The Purdue Boilermakers were able to blitz the Iowa Hawkeyes 87-68 to pull their record to 1-1 in the early B1G season games with an offensive and defensive performance that puts the conference on notice. After a less than stellar outing against the Northwestern Wildcats, the Boilers appeared very intent on ensuring their position as the big dog of the B1G this season was very much never in doubt with five Boilers scoring in double figures led by Zach Edey’s 25 and 12 in just 24 minutes of action.
It should also be noted that all five starters for Purdue were at least a +14 during their time on the court with Smith, Edey, and Loyer at an average of +27. That’s just an unreal level of efficiency and effectiveness that shows Purdue’s ceiling when the team is firing on all cylinders.
Let’s get into ‘The Rebound!’
1 | Take Care of the Basketball
Well, that’s how you respond from a game where there were an inordinate amount of turnovers. From 17 against the Wildcats to just 8 against Iowa with only 3 coming in the second half. Those kinds of numbers would make Purdue so incredibly difficult to defend and beat and shows the capabilities they have of taking care of the ball.
As Coach Painter pointed out in his post-game media availability, turnovers are going to happen but they shouldn’t be something to concern yourself with unless it becomes an issue that strings from game to game. Purdue generally hasn’t had bad turnover problems this season so when it happens it is going to be highlighted. The key is to limit the bad turnovers and Purdue did just that against the Hawkeyes as they gave up 11 points off turnovers (I believe 4 of those came in the final minutes of the game when Purdue’s lineup looked a bit helter-skelter anyways).
Purdue can certainly live with 10-12 turnovers a game given how efficient they are on the offensive end (generating 1.403 points per possession) but when they only turn it over 8 times, that’s a recipe for a dominating victory.
2 | Control the Tempo and Pace
Not much to be said here as Purdue led for 38:34 of this game and just flat out dominated the Hawkeyes both in the half court and in transition. Purdue just seemed utterly in control at every position against the Hawkeyes and the game was never really in any doubt. However, for a lot of Purdue fans they remembered the Rick Mount night where Purdue was up 19 at one point and went on to lose with Iowa blitzing the Boilers in the second half with a full court press that led to scoring 50 points and a victory. This time, there would be no such loss of tempo or control.
To start the second half, Iowa came out and attempted to pressure Purdue into speeding up the game and turning the ball over. Instead, the Boilers scored on 15 of their first 18 possessions of the second half and scored 29 points in the fist 7:48. That’s a 1.611 points per possession through that time timeframe and extended the Boilers lead to 34. At that point, it was about getting minutes to guys who needed to get them while limiting some minutes for other guys. In fact, Ethan Morton played a team high of 25 minutes along with Braden Smith.
Man, not much to say here as this was a masterclass in controlling to tempo, pace, and flow of a game. Not until the game was incredibly well in hand did it seem like Iowa was able to really string anything together and that came largely because Purdue was mixing lineups in to give guys extended minutes.
3 | Dominate Second Chance Points
Purdue did a wonderful job in this regard against the Hawkeyes as they grabbed 17 second chance points but did allow Iowa to get 15 of their own. A lot of that might be in the final 12 minutes of the game but rebounding is something every player should be able to do at Purdue and maintain an advantage simply through effort. Purdue also ended up outrebounding Iowa 41-36 but again, many of those came in the games final 12 minutes when the outcome had already been all but certified. If the starters and regular rotations had continued to be used, it stands to reason that Purdue may have won this game by 40+ points and dominated the second chance points portion.
This is more of an indication of what Coach Painter has preached for a long time: It doesn’t matter who you are, you can always rebound, pass, and play hard. Not that the Boilers weren’t playing hard in the final 12 minutes but it was just a bit sloppy and that sloppiness led to Iowa’s ability to bring the score to 19 and even up the second chance points.
And 1 | Keep Iowa Off the Free Throw Line
Iowa had a team total of 18 free throws but 8 of those did come in the final 12 minutes of the game. As mentioned above, once the lead ballooned to 35 and it was apparent the Boilers were going to win, the importance became getting guys who deserved and needed the extended minutes time on the court. Iowa ran a lot of motion and dove to the lane a bunch and the fact Purdue was able to keep them off the free throw line as much as they did prior to those final 12 minutes is a testament to their defensive capabilities.
Purdue, overall, did a wonderful job containing the dribble drives and turning Iowa into jump shooters with their shots contested while not getting a lot of clean looks. When you compound that with not putting a team that is struggling to shoot onto the foul line, it becomes exponentially harder to win games, especially on the road in the B1G.
Prediction vs. Outcome:
Purdue: 87 (83)
Iowa: 68 (70)
Overall Grade: A
Coming off a tough loss, the team really seemed to concentrate on realizing that this is a very long season with an end point that is far off into late March. A loss was bound to happen and the fact it took a team playing out of their mind with a game from Purdue that is an outlier to win in overtime on their home court is a testament to how good this team’s ‘average’ is. Against the Hawkeyes, they showed what can happen to a good team when they are playing at or near their best. A scary proposition for opponents to think about heading into B1G season.