After a solid start to the game against the rival Hoosiers, Purdue fell flat allowing Indiana to go on a 17-4 run in the first 7:13 of the second half and never getting within 8 points the rest of the game. In a game where Purdue out rebounded the Hoosiers 46-30, had 15 assists, and only turned the ball over 12 times, as soon as the Hoosiers started their run, it seemed as though the game was over and Purdue was just dying from 1,000 paper cuts. Long story short: Purdue just couldn’t get the stops they needed nor could they hit their shots with any sort of consistency as they shot just 22-63 (30.3%) from the field, 5-23 (23%) from behind the arc, and 22-33 (66.7%) from the free throw line.
Let’s review those matchups:
1 | Zach Edey vs. Trayce Jackson-Davis
Well, in what was built up to be a game that could very well decide the fate of the National Player of the Year Race, it turned out to be somewhat of a one-sided affair. Zach Edey scored 26 points on 8-17 shooting while grabbing 18 rebounds while also going 10-14 from the free throw line. He was consistently putting himself in great position on the low block against IU’s inferior post defenders but failed to hit some easy buckets he usually gets. That being said, this was still a really good game from the big man.
On the other side of this matchup, I don’t think Jackson-Davis has had as bad of a game as this season. He was held scoreless in the first half on 0-3 shooting, had 2 personal fouls, and 1 turnover. He eventually was able to get 10 points and 8 rebounds but just seemed like Purdue’s post defenders were able to harrass him into poor shots. In their game before the one against Purdue, he looked tired and that looked to be the same again.
Prior to the game if you had showed me the stat lines for these two guys, I probably would have said Purdue won by 20+ but that obviously isn’t the case. That being said, I don’t think there is a real conversation for National Player of the Year nor is there one to be made for B1G Player of the Year either. Edey will walk away with both of those awards it seems.
2 | Ethan Morton vs. Jalen Hood Schifino
This is where the game went completely sideways for Purdue as Morton looked utterly overmatched against Hood-Schifino. Morton had the worst +/- of any Boilermaker against the Hoosiers going -12 with 3 points on 1-4 shooting, grabbing 2 rebounds, handing out 2 assists, and getting called for 2 fouls. Morton isn’t expected to be a high volume shooter or scorer but his value comes in his contributions on defense, keeping the ball moving on offense, and just being an all out hustle type of guy. Against the Hoosiers, I’m not sure I would give him a passing grade in any of those regards.
JHS was just absolutely incredible against the Boilers and made Morton look really silly when he was guarding him. I’d have to go back and look at how many points Morton eventually gave up to JHS but simply by the eye test alone, Brandon Newman appeared to just be the flat out better player. Newman went for 8 points on 2-5 shooting, had 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals, and should have been given a block if not for an absolutely atrocioius goaltending call. More so than that, Newman had the highest =/- at +3 (David Jenkins Jr. was the only other Boiler in the positives at +1). It has been clear over multiple games that Newman is playing better than Morton and I think it might serve the team best if Newman was given a chance to start against Wisconsin.
JHS just owned the game and on the biggest stage in his college career up to this point, he looked a step ahead as a probable lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. 35 points on 14-24 shooting, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and just 3 TO’s as the primary ball handler for the Hoosiers. That stat line alone probably peaked the interest of a lot of later lottery teams (10-15) but if he somehow falls to a team in the 20’s, they are getting an absolute steal of a player. I’ve been impressed by how much he has continued to improve this season and if IU can get both Jackson-Davis and JHS to play on the same level at the same time, IU can make some noise in the tourney.
3 | Purdue Getting A Well Called Game from Officials
Absolutely no complaints on my end about the officiating outside of 3 pretty blatantly bad calls. The Newman goaltend was bad and the back to back charge calls that were pretty clearly flops by Hoosier defenders looking like they took a Mike Tyson jab were bad but those calls didn’t impact the outcome of the game. Overall, that was an officiated game that was clearly evenly called and the way each team defended is how the fouls came out to be called. Purdue forced a lot of jumpers and IU didn’t look to draw a lot of fouls. For IU, they were very aggressive on the defensive end and Purdue made them pay by drawing 23 fouls and getting to the free throw line 33 times.
Well, had the teams just done the same thing in the second half that they did in the first half, I would have nailed that prediction score. Alas, that obviously wasn’t the case and Purdue dropped a huge game inside Mackey Arena in what would have been likely the biggest moment in the venue’s history. The moment seemed to just be too big for the team and the shooting was just atrocious while the team just looked like they shrunk under the lights.
This team just seems to play better when there isn’t as much pressure and hopefully with Maryland beating Northwestern and Purdue getting the conference title out of the way, they’ll play more free and without pressure the rest of the season.
Boiler Up! Hammer Down! Hail Purdue!