Purdue came up short in another disappointing loss last night. Although it's been forever since we've started the season with only one win, like TMill said there is no need to hit the panic button just yet. We're only four games in and have many more to come, and with each game we are showing signs of improvement.
After falling behind in the first half, Purdue came out strong and was neck and neck with Oregon State for the rest of the game until the Beavers went on an 8-0 run that led to them coming out on top. Even though we lost I thought we played a well rounded game. We did a good job at passing and moving the ball, we are lowering the turnovers slowly but surely, and we're still doing a great job at forcing other teams to turn the ball over.
One thing is for sure though, we are godawful at shooting the 3-point shot. D.J. Byrd had a couple big 3s, but our 26.3% from behind the arc says it all, so does the 56.3% from the foul line. I think we'll start to turn free throws around as the season progresses, but as for now it's just ugly when we go to the line.
Now on to some of the points from the game:
- A.J. Hammons had an offensive coming out party with 20 points, and looks like the only guy on the team who can consistently hit his free throws. Hammons was getting good positioning in the post and has a pretty nice looking jump shot. His defense still needs improvement, but that's a learning process.
- At first, I liked how we went with our most veteran lineup possible last night. There was a lot of potential with that lineup. However, when three of our best players (Byrd, Terone Johson, and Anthony Johnson) go 9-37 on the night we are in pretty big trouble. We're more than likely going to see a lot of different starting lineups this season as Painter tweaks with rotations and who's on and who's not, but I thought going with the vets was a smart move.
- Drink every time someone mentions Jacob Lawson and energy in the same sentence. Seriously though, this guy is a machine and has made a complete turn around from last season.
- We need to shoot better and take smarter shots. This team is shooting itself in the foot with silly shots and wasted possessions. The chemistry is still being built and the freshmen are still learning how to not make silly passes. But our veterans, like Byrd, need to not keep jacking up shots when they are ice cold. There are more ways to contribute to a team other than scoring.
- This team needs to learn to box out. It's killing me how many rebounds we give up on both ends of the court because of our guys not putting a body on opposing teams.
A lot of the negatives mentioned in here can be cured with the progression of the season. Most of it is mental and due to a lack of experience; I have hopes that we'll overcome it. Purdue has a stretch of very winnable games over the next few weeks, so we'll see how we play then. A few wins to boost morale is always a good thing, especially with a young team.
It's frustrating to see us keep losing, but I whole heartily trust Matt Painter and his ability to coach. We're young, raw, and have all the potential in the world. Knowing Painter we'll have our issues figured out by the time Big Ten play roles around.