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The Rebound: Purdue 99 Michigan 67

Lance Jones and Zach Edey carried the Boilers but it was Brian Waddell who put the exclamation point on a dominating victory.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Purdue Boilermakers were dominant against the Michigan Wolverines on their way to a 99-67 victory at home to move their conference record to 7-2. Lance Jones’ offensive outburst of 24 points along with Braden Smith’s near triple-double and Zach Edey’s ho-hum 16-10 double-double left Michigan in the dust with no answers. The Boilers seemed able to get whatever they wanted on offense and dictated what Michigan could and couldn’t do offensively for most of the game. All in all, it was a complete undressing of the Wolverines who are struggling this season amidst a litany of issues.

Let’s get into ‘The Three Pointer!’

1 | Dial Up the Pressure on Michigan’s Ball Handlers

Purdue’s defense isn’t one to generate a lot of turnovers and steals against the opposition but what it does is try to make them really uncomfortable in the half court while taking some chances when you can jump into passing lanes and jamming ball handlers full court. With Dug McDaniel being out, it was glaringly obvious that UM was at a deficiency at the point guard position and had to rely on Jaelin Llewellyn against Purdue. Nothing against the young man who, at one time, Matt Painter wanted to see in a Purdue uniform after he was a scorer at Princeton, but he isn’t a primary ball handler. UM just seemed to really struggle to get into an offensive flow all night and that pressure might have been a big reason for it.

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

On two occasions, Lance Jones was able to heat up Llewellyn in the backcourt and get steals while generally throwing the timing and efficiency of Michigan’s offense off. That matchup really allowed Smith to play more as an off-ball defender where he does a really good job of shooting gaps and jumping passing lanes with his excellent vision. This UM squad, without Dug McDaniel, is likely what Purdue may have looked a bit like last year without Braden Smith.

Grade: A-
Purdue didn’t generate a lot of steals but generally made Michigan really uncomfortable all over the court. That starts with the pressure applied to the ball handlers. I was a bit surprised to not see Michigan try to flex a forward out to bring the ball up to just try and see if that stimulated some offensive flow.

2 | Hammer the Wolverines on Offense

When you score 90+ in a B1G game, that’s a big deal. When you go four consecutive games of scoring 47, 51, 49, and 49 in the first half, that’s an ideal way to go about winning conference games when you pair that with a top 10 adjusted defense, according to Kenpom. Purdue just seemed like they were able to get whatever they wanted offensively and that’s what they can look like when the outside shots are falling. Purdue did that well in going 14-21 and really didn’t take any ‘bad’ threes throughout the entire game.

Lance Jones’ continually improvement into his role is what is going to make Purdue an incredibly difficult team to defend. Over the last three games, the transfer guard has averaged 19.5 points per game and has done so within the flow of the offense without forcing shots. As Matt Painter said in his post game comments, ‘he went 7-16 but he organically got those 16 shots,’ which means Jones was just working within the flow of the offense better than he has earlier in the season.

More than anything, Purdue just looked like a team that was solidly in control from the outset on the offensive end and spread the ball around by making extra passes, driving the ball instead of always settling for jump shots, and playing hard. In fact, had it not been for a stretch where Purdue went 1-12 and missed a lot of layups, the Boilers could have easily score 60 points in the first half.

Grade: A+
Hard to be upset at an efficient night at the office where the Boilers score 99, scored 1.456 points per possession, had a scoring percentage of 63%, and went 14-21 for 66.7% from being the arc.

3 | Can Edey Grab Another 30 and 10?

Well, he didn’t get another 30 and 10 but Edey did grab his 71st consecutive game in double figures, recorded his 52 double-double, and moved into sixth place on the all time Purdue scoring list with 1,991 overall points. In fact, Edey now has the second most double-doubles in the B1G this century (Jordan Murphy-67) and is just two shy of breaking Purdue’s all time record of 54 held by Terry Dischinger.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

They can’t all be 30 and 10’s but 16 and 10 on a pretty ho-hum night for Edey in just 24 minutes of action isn’t all around bad for the big man. He deserves to look semi-human some nights after looking the part of a super hero the last several.

Grade: B-
Really hard to give Edey below an A here but the fact is this is just sort of an average game for him. 16 points on 6 of 13 shooting is just ‘ok’ for him and he’d probably be the first to tell you that. I realize this is 100% unfair to Zach but when you are as good as he is, that’s the standard. If this was anyone else on Purdue’s roster, fans are losing their minds.

And 1 | Getting Braden Back on Track

Well, when you flirt with a triple-double in just 26 minutes of action by going for 11 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds with just 2 turnovers, I’d say you might be back on track. After going just 8-31 (25.8%) from the floor over the previous three games, this is what Purdue needs to see more on a regular basis. Smith was a floor general and if he can play at that level without turning the ball over (his two turnovers came after playing Purdue had played the previous 29 minutes turnover free), it again raises Purdue’s ceiling even more as that’s an area Braden can still improve on.

Grade: A
When Braden is playing at that level, where he can clearly generate his own shot while generating shots for others AND he doesn’t turn the ball over, Purdue’s offense is nearly unstoppable. That level of play will drive Purdue in March.

Overall Grade: A

After dropping a game on the road to Nebraska (in which nobody in the country was likely beating them), Purdue has looked like the elite team to beat this season in college basketball. Over the last four games Purdue has won by 17 (Penn State), 21 (Indiana), 14 (Iowa), and 32 (Michigan) for an average margin of victory of 21 points. The Boilers have also scored an average of 91.25 points in those four games. The major key though: The Boilers have given up an average of 70.25 points per game. 91.25-70.25. That stretch may be the best four game conference run for Purdue ever and maybe one of the best in the B1G in quite some time.

Prediction:

Purdue: 86 (99)
Michigan: 70 (67)

I took slight under the line that was offered thinking that Purdue may simply cruise in the second half and look to simply maintain a big lead they had built in the first half. That wasn’t the case as the Boilers to lead 35 even with the last 6 to 7 minutes being largely up to the deep bench to finish out the game. Even though I stated multiple times how impactful the loss of Dug McDaniel was going to be, I didn’t fully realize just how much it would be

Player of the Game:

Lance Jones went for a Purdue career high of 24 points and looked efficient doing so as he took his shots organically in the offense and didn’t force anything. He struggled a bit finishing at times around the rim but he has proven he can make those more often times than not. If he does, he may have gone for a career high overall (31 points at Southern Illinois). Jones has now averaged 19.5 points per game over the last three games and is now averaging 12.5 points per game. That leaves him second on the team behind Zach Edey’s 22.9. Nobody saw that type of scoring being his role at Purdue.

Play of the Game:

Well, up until the final minute of the game it was likely going to be Loyer’s big three to end the half to push Purdue’s lead to 24 or Edey’s frustrated slam in the early parts of the second half to set the tone for Purdue. There was even Heide’s big slam off an out of bounds that could have been it. That is, until Brian Waddell wound up and showed off his athleticism for the final points of the game.

With under 1 minute left in the game, Sam King caught a quick pass in the right corner and he skipped it out to Waddell on the left wing. Waddell caught the ball, put it on the deck, dribbled twice, and took off outside the interior arc for a monster one handed slam. Had the full crowd been inside Mackey (although it was still quite full), the dB record might have fallen. It was reported to have been 120 and Robbie Hummel was as stunned as the entire crowd. Matt Painter? Not so much.